Why would I think that “Love in a Fallen City” isn’t a love story and If it is isn’t a love story then what the heck do I think that it is about?
The main reason that I know that it is not a love story because it is so formulaic a love story that it couldn’t be. What? Chang delivers this story in such a tightly sealed package that any reader is powerless but to be immersed in the story: rooting for Liusu and hoping that Liuyuan will marry her and they will live happily ever after. That is exactly what Chang wanted the reader to do – swallow the story: hook, line and sinker. But she is way smarter than that. She knows, just like every wise parents know, that in order to get children to swallow their medicine it is best given with something sweet and which will mask its true intent.
The story is about Liusu, not the relationship. (Liuyuan is just part of the vehicle that Chang uses to take the reader on the ride.)
This is a story about freedom from imprisonment. This is about transition. This is about transformation. This is about redemption. This is about renewal. This is about salvation. This is about liberation. This is about death and life. This is about purpose. This is about truth as opposed to lies and slander. This is about being true to one’s self.
“Love in a Fallen City” is about all of these things and the love part is merely the road that Chang chose for us to ride on to really see this.