More like 2 1/2 stars. The idea of the plot is interesting. Chen is forced to vacation at a centre near a lake known for its beauty. The reality is that the lake is so damaged by pollution that nobody risks eating or drinking anything coming from the lake. Except for the poor. The author tries too hard to pass his beliefs of the savage progress that is destroying his homeland. Add to that way too much poetry and secondary characters that are quite thin and you get a very, very average Chen Cao novel.