In this collection of Chinese short stories by prize-winning author, Jin Yucheng, the past experiences of the leading characters act as heavy shadows in their present-day lives. The development of the story-plots and complex ideas of these characters are interwoven with one another like riddles. The leading characters tirelessly explore the significance of life in the changing era and in their own life experiences. The SpecimensMy old friend Xiaohan was put behind bars for opening the mail of others. His wife Heiti thought that he had died, which was why she didn't come to see him in jail. Not long ago, a public document from a stranger reached my mailbox. Could this be related to Xiaohan? Using the return address from the public document, Heiti and I went there to look into it.A Nest of Nine BoxesFor dozens of years, the grandmother had been chiseling the wall and digging into the ground. She was looking for things that her husband may have hidden. What was behind her unusual behavior? On the eve of moving away from the old house for relocation, the grandson accompanied his grandmother to search for the last time. They heard the collapse of the earthen wall and the many sounds resounding from the past.Late WinterLong-Running DiscontentXiaoman and Aisheng were neighbors. Their homes were near the rail-tracks. In the adult world, there were complex and ambiguous relationships among Xiaoman's uncle, Aisheng's elder sister, Miss Wen, a teacher at the elementary school, and the woman teacher at the normal school. The two children boarded the train, seeking to find out the answer to all their questions. However, Aishen was stabbed due to a fight on the train. Would they still be able to find out the truth? A Crispness in the AirIn a small water-borne town in turbulent war times, the boss of a salted meat shop had an unusual relationship with his adopted daughter Qiguan. She was somewhat ambiguously related to the shop-assistant Shousheng. The boss then wanted to get fresh with his maid A'Cai. He mysteriously disappeared after this. Afterwards, A'Cai left, a corpse was found by the lake, and a town police officer was found dead in the salted meat shop. Who was behind all this?