In this avant garde masterpiece, memory is a fluid concept. The protagonist, a writer, is at a publisher-sponsored retreat to finish his novel. The beauty of the location however cannot compensate for the anxiety and hallucinations he experiences while watching a flock of brown birds pass by his window, and his sense of temporal disorientation is further compounded by the appearance of a strange woman who calls him Ge Fei. Fiction and reality blend into one as the story unfolds. Ge Fei s prose renders in exquisite detail the fragility of time.'