Song of Exile

Translated by: Guan Zhong

Written by: Yun Zhongyue 雲中岳 

translated & edited by: Guan Zhong (GZ) Twitter | Instagram | Wuxia Wanderings

Translator's Note: Song of Exile, 《亡命之歌》, is a print wuxia novel originally published in 1965 in Taiwan by author Yun Zhongyue (1930-2010). This is not a webnovel, but is being adapted for the web for publishing here. It has been licensed directly with the author's family. Big thanks to them for being so cooperative and supportive of this project. Song of Exile is a novel I have been wanting to publish officially for over three and a half years. Yun Zhongyue was the first wuxia author I discovered when I moved to Taiwan in 2010, when I barely knew any Chinese. Since then I have learned more about his work and the wuxia genre in general. Song of Exile is one of Master Yun's best novels. I read one netizen write once that if you have not read Song of Exile then you have not read Yun Zhongyue, and I agree as it is a good representation of his overall style, which is one of realism and detail. 

The novel is set during the Jiajing reign period of the Ming dynasty. Master Yun's characters and world are true-to-life, both with regard to historical detail as well as human personality and behavior. His characters feel like real people, his villages and cities feel like real places. His descriptions of geography and other cultural minutiae are based on extensive research, and unlike most wuxia authors of his day, he outlined his novels beforehand and wrote them in their entirety before publishing them, as opposed to the chapter-by-chapter newspaper serializations of his peers. The result is a novel with a tight plot and a satisfying resolution, and without any filler. Wuxia is a relatively unknown genre in the West, and it's the first licensed wuxia novel to be published in our webnovel community. 

SOE is a pretty good introduction to the genre, actually, as it illustrates clearly what certain concepts such as the jianghu are, so that just by reading this novel you will be pretty much up to speed on what wuxia is all about. Unlike the fantasy and xianxia novels popular here, wuxia focuses more on realistic (albeit exaggerated) martial arts and character relationships. There are no qi cultivation ranks. There is, however, plenty of martial arts fighting. Song of Exile is one of my favorite wuxia novels, and Yun Zhongyue one of my favorite wuxia authors. I hope many of you like it as well. –G