The people of Yanjin know to always have a few jokes on hand.
For three thousand years, they have been terrorised by Hua Erniang, a forsaken spirit that rules over their dreams. Failing to amuse this supernatural guest means not waking up at all, crushed by her jilted heart which has calcified into a mountain.
Growing up inside a town adapting to socialist ideals, Mingliang’s life is beset with hardship and adversity that leaves his family in tatters. Seeking fortune elsewhere, he heads west across China's vast central plain, encountering nothing but restless souls mortgaged to debts from former lives, each unwilling to move on for their own reasons.
No matter how many times you try to start afresh, you can only run so far from a broken home. Some wounds take more than a lifetime to heal, but in the meantime, a few wisecracks tucked into the back pocket won’t hurt.