Aijun is instantly intoxicated, his wife - waiting patiently for him at home - quickly forgotten. Both Aijun and Hongmei hurl themselves into their town's revolutionary struggle. Spending their days and nights stamping out feudalism, writing pamphlets and organising rallies, they become inseparable: they are the engines of history. The couple dig a 'tunnel of love' - to further the revolution, of course, but also to connect their homes and provide a chamber for their secret rendezvous. While the unsuspecting villagers sleep, they sing political songs and compete in shouting-matches of Maoist slogans before making earth-shattering love. But when Hongmei's husband finds them together one evening, their dreams of a life together begin to fall apart. Hard Like Water is a novel of immense emotional force from one of China's greatest contemporary writers, a universal human drama about the nature of power and the dangers of hubris, as well as the freewheeling momentum of love and sexual desire.