The Rental Shop Owner

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I think that was the moment when everything started to change.

I don’t know why but I had never liked anyone in all those years. Even though I liked men, I had never taken a liking to any.

I thought it was out of sympathy and pity at that time.

But someone once said that love stemming from sympathy and pity is actually more down-to-earth. I think it was Zheng Zhihua talking about his wife.

Associated Names
One entry per line
租書店老闆
Related Series
N/A
Recommendations
SAYE (2)
Epiphanies of Rebirth (2)
Lawless Gangster (2)
Ageless Seducer (1)
Skin Hunger (1)
Walk on Water (1)
Recommendation Lists
  1. Completed Novels
  2. BL short stories
  3. Read *** or **** Part One
  4. Modern Danmei TBR
  5. This is where realistic relationship looks like.

Latest Release

Date Group Release
06/21/15 Chinese BL Translations epilogue
06/21/15 Chinese BL Translations extra
06/19/15 Chinese BL Translations c16-17
06/14/15 Chinese BL Translations c15
06/07/15 Chinese BL Translations c14
06/03/15 Chinese BL Translations c11,12,13
05/24/15 Chinese BL Translations c8,9,10
05/17/15 Chinese BL Translations c5,6,7
05/10/15 Chinese BL Translations c2,3,4
05/09/15 Chinese BL Translations c1 + prologue
Write a Review
26 Reviews sorted by


erikvio
erikvio rated it
March 6, 2018
Status: epilogue
Short and sweet, with a little bit of angst mixed in. A recipe for success.

The story is written as if the MC is recounting his past to you, which made the prose quite interesting. It follows the burgeoning romance between an underachieving college graduate and a younger street thug over the years; set in China at the turn of the millenia.

Outside of the dramatized plot points (since it is a story, of course!), the novel is quite realistic. Since it's set in near-modern day, readers will probably recognize the pop... more>> culture references and events the author mentions. It pokes fun at the BL-obsessed subculture that a sizable portion of its reader base likely consists of, and I found it so spot on I couldn't help but smile. I found the couple's realistic relationship incredibly refreshing and relatively true-to-life. The author never goes into detail during the R-rated scenes, and I've seen complaints over this in the other reviews, but those sexy times aren't the be-all-end-all of their relationship. <<less
25 Likes · Like Permalink | Report
AddictedHeroin
AddictedHeroin rated it
June 11, 2017
Status: c1
As I tried to give this short novel a chance, I didn't have much expectations. But I was surprised that I actually enjoyed it and finished it in one go. The story between the characters becomes more clear after a few chapters. It was really cute, and has a happy ending which is a plus for me.
16 Likes · Like Permalink | Report
makenai89
makenai89 rated it
December 12, 2015
Status: --
A down-to-earth but really nice story about two men with large gaps between them. One is in his twenties, the other's still wet behind his ears. One is a university graduate, the other is a high school dropout. One is a respectable member of society, while the other is a thug. How will they reach out to each other?

Plot-wise, there are many things that the author could have dig out but didn't. However, the way the story told gives feel-good vibe that we can't complaint it's bad. A must read... more>> for people who likes boys love romances with setting in modern era. <<less
13 Likes · Like Permalink | Report
ninish
ninish rated it
October 25, 2016
Status: epilogue
This story is good, don't mind the 1 ratings, those are the yaoi-hating trolls messing around with things. The first chapters didn't catch my attention too much at first, mainly cause I'm a fantasy fanatic (oh, I'm a fan-fan) an this is set in the real world, with real situations, but by the end of it I was praying for it not to end, i'd have liked to read more. As the translation is complete, if you like BL I recommend you to give it a try, it will be... more>> worth your time. <<less
11 Likes · Like Permalink | Report
earlgreyt
earlgreyt rated it
February 21, 2019
Status: Completed
Wow, despite this being a short read, this story can pull the emotions out of you. This is a very good, realistic modern romance that doesn't try to fetishize the male characters as much as in many other BLs.

The MC is an average but college-educated guy with a loving family. He opens a multimedia rental shop ends up with someone in completely different circumstances (street gang/criminal). This story is about their unconventional getting together. It's fluffy but very touching and deep at the same time. The hurdles the modern couple... more>> went through were very down-to-earth and pretty grounded in the political/social culture at the time. It feels like you're hearing about a 'real' couple working down the street.

The author is an excellent writer who doesn't need to over-explain or info-dump the details. The layers of the characters get peeled back one by one as their relationship progresses. Translation is fantastic as well. Highly recommend. <<less
7 Likes · Like Permalink | Report
BlueAmethyst
BlueAmethyst rated it
December 5, 2020
Status: Completed
This was actually a good first person point-of-view story. I wish there were more like this, especially the ones which incorporates real life events in their storytelling - makes it feel like the characters once came to life and really experienced those events I just heard from the elders' stories. My overall rating is 4.2 but I'll give it a 5 to boost the rating.

Plot's pretty simple - two guys who are at extreme ends of the society's scale met, fought, interacted, talked, and fell in love with each other,... more>> then a sh*t happened but they got a happy ending. No deep conflicts or confusing plot twists, just a narration of MC and ML's life experiences during late 1990s and early 2000s.

I appreciate integrating real life events in history as milestones. Apart from making an illusion of having the characters experience these events real time, it helped me widen my understanding of the history of China, both in the viewpoints of historians and ordinary people. I'm not from China nor Chinese, but this story helped me create a rough sketch of their economic and political timeline by extrapolation (yes, I have a lot of time now) - I just need to cross-examine it with real life events to see if I'm correct. Teehee.

What left a deep impression on me while reading this was the choice of words for the narration. When it came to first person POV narratives, the passages and flow of the story should reflect the mannerisms and diction of the whoever is telling the story. Some authors forget this aspect and leave it out when writing, more so when translators interpret the story in another language, that's why this novel was a job done REALLY REALLY WELL for me. I especially liked the girl's POV. Thank you for letting me read this, Mr./Ms. Author and Mr./Ms. Translator/s!

Highly recommended. Will definitely read again! <<less
5 Likes · Like Permalink | Report
YouToon
YouToon rated it
June 10, 2021
Status: Completed
A strange fate binds the two lovers of this quiet slice of life story. Everything about their initial interactions should result in a lifetime bond of hate and guilt. Instead its a lifetime bond of affection and devotion. But how long can a lifetime last?
Spoiler

Don’t worry, its not a tragedy.

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Its far more realistic than a typical romance. Both the leads are fully realized characters and the world they inhabit feels fully alive. I strongly recommend this novel.
4 Likes · Like Permalink | Report
Passerby Soysauce-sama
Passerby Soysauce-sama rated it
May 25, 2019
Status: Completed
I was shouting in my mind slag! slag! Ah please don't misunderstand. This was brought by circumstances in the novel... Rating this 4.8

Definitely a must-read! I was pulled into a late 80's and early 90's ambience while reading this. There was still the taboo for love between men. This is very realistic and a love beyond physical ties.

Very emotional and dramatically heavy, at the same time, gives the feeling of nostalgia. This broke my heart, healed it and broke it again and again!!! SLAG right?!

But this went BEYOOOOND my expectations!... more>> It left a sweet and warm aftertaste; which is rare in my BL adventures. Please read it to the end! <<less
4 Likes · Like Permalink | Report
ahxin
ahxin rated it
July 1, 2019
Status: epilogue
Ah ah ah ah!!!! A definite favorite, must-read ah!!! The atmosphere that was given by this novel is truly nostalgic~ The author did a very good job ah!!! The same feeling as I was reading Eleanor and Park... as if I was being transported to a very familiar place. This is my cup of tea. The narration technique of blending in the past, the present and their hopeful future. ... more>>
Spoiler

As how MC would retort from time to time, how a certain behavior or action he did in the past would still be laughed at by ML

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I like the arrangement of the events ah. The author did not make me feel confused as there was always a reason why they had to jump or go back, or suddenly bask in a short memory. This way of writing is somehow nearer to the English novels I have read... I can't seem to pinpoint why. My cup of tea, in specifics, is a novel that I can read in a warm, cozy place, without fear of crying, tearing up, etc. Well, that's because the place I chose is a safe place. And unlike humorous, lighter novels which I can read easily in the public transport, this one is something I'd love to share all my feelings to, and therefore would love to keep it all for myself, all in private. Ah, in addition, this kind of setting and way of storytelling also reminded me of the older Studio Ghibli works ah~~

This would be my after-reading review, and I may edit to add more about the specifics of the story or the characters, but I may also not. All I can say is I thank you author, and I thank you Shen Bin and Qian Jiyang for sharing your story with us~~ <<less
3 Likes · Like Permalink | Report
Noahhh13
Noahhh13 rated it
July 31, 2023
Status: epilogue
I was searching for a short story and decided to read this one after reading erikvio's review. I agree with everything. It was enoyable and not hard to read. Balanced between sweet and some angstier moments.

Spoiler

i found the girls fangirling over the boss and shen bin funny and relatabe I guess ahah

[collapse]

it's a good read.
2 Likes · Like Permalink | Report
Michelle-08
Michelle-08 rated it
July 8, 2022
Status: Completed
A truly amazing story! Short but gold.

The nostalgia it brings, I like the writer's storytelling style, it brings back lots of memories from that era- the 90's. The old movies, anime's books and VCR's etc. She describes the life back then then slowly transitioning to around 2000.

The MC is an upright citizen, who studied the wrong course and ends up opening a rental shop instead. The ML is a thug who always visits the rental shop of the MC to freely grabs some gay movies. Things go wrong turn when... more>> an incident happened between the MC and ML. Although, an unfortunate things happen to the ML because of this, there's no blame that you can hear from the ML.

My heart bleeds after reading the ML's story! I mean, the writer said that it's from a real life story so makes my heart hurt double! (⌯˃̶᷄ ﹏ ˂̶᷄⌯) Good thing, the ML and MC found each other and stayed together through thick and thin. ❤️❤️❤️ If you're looking for light read, this is not it. The struggles both the ML and MC went through is real!! Also, I love the extra chapters! That said, please find time to read this novel, 10 chapters but all the feels is on the spot! <<less
2 Likes · Like Permalink | Report
Reyleisha
Reyleisha rated it
February 3, 2021
Status: Completed
Rating: 4/5- For a short read it was really good.

It was definitely really sad but also realistic. I think as a longer novel this would have been brilliant, but irrespective the author really did a great job.
2 Likes · Like Permalink | Report
jianguooo
jianguooo
November 19, 2020
Status: Completed
reading this is like eating dark chocolate... it's a little try and fruity and hard to get the flavor out at the beginning, but after it melts a little in your mouth the flavor is as strong as can be. and you get addicted to it too, wishing you had more chocolate than you actually do.

it's fairly melancholic but cute nonetheless. the beginning was a little confusing for me but I'm glad I got through it and got to read it all
2 Likes · Like Permalink | Report
pinkumilkuu
pinkumilkuu rated it
March 24, 2020
Status: Completed
I read this way back 2018 but I forgot to rate it. : ( Good:

  • Flow of the story: despite being a short novel, the details and phasing was very satisfying.
  • MC: He's a coolheaded guy and I'm glad he met ML.
  • ML: I'm sad just thinking about his story, I'm glad he's happy now and has learned his lesson ; ((
2 Likes · Like Permalink | Report
Arenaphrodite
Arenaphrodite rated it
January 15, 2020
Status: epilogue
After reading the first few chapters I didn't like it that much but still gave it a go and boy did it turn out to be good! So don't mind the low ratings. Trust me, this story is great. I loved it.
2 Likes · Like Permalink | Report
tahneenee
tahneenee rated it
November 2, 2019
Status: epilogue
What a gem!!!!!! I love this story so much. I need a new folder for books I plan to re-read many times.

Now I'm off to find everything else by this author.
2 Likes · Like Permalink | Report
scrapsd
scrapsd rated it
August 2, 2019
Status: --
Nothing much to hate. It’s a good mellow type of story. Mainly drama, not much comedy. If you like a good story, this one’s good for you. I really like the style of writing. It’s a flashback diary style of writing of the MC. The dynamics between the 2 are great, the drama in between them is well developed and it ends nicely too. It is romance, but if you want something fluffy (which I thought it was from the title), it’s not really gushingly fluffy type, but whatever, the... more>> good plot made me read this all in one shot. A nice short read and I recommend! <<less
2 Likes · Like Permalink | Report
izayaYY
izayaYY rated it
July 2, 2019
Status: --
This novel is full of nostalgia for me, a 90s kid. The atmosphere, the details of the 80s/90s, the VCR, the animes, the old computers, the rental video shops, they are all authentic and contribute to the realism.

This novel has a similar setting and vibe as "The Beijing Story" but I prefer this book... at least this one has a happy ending lol. "Beijing Story" was tragic and sad and broke my heart. I was afraid that this one would be the same since the narration is so serious and... more>> heavy, especially when you have gangsters involved. But it's surprisingly sweet and romantic. I love the extra about their love, 10yrs after. Sooooo goood! <<less
2 Likes · Like Permalink | Report
shad1234go
shad1234go rated it
January 23, 2019
Status: Completed
This was truly amazing. The story is so much more than a slice of life. It felt real and made me almost cry but I was very happy with the ending... Amazing piece of work and amazing translation.
2 Likes · Like Permalink | Report
Anissia
Anissia
September 2, 2022
Status: Completed
This story is a worthwhile read, it's short and yet complete with good characterization, world-building and story-telling. It's a realistic story based on the 1997-2000s time-stamp in china, the action and crime element is just right and not exagerrated, gives just the right action and intrigue needed in this story, though realistic and down to earth it is not dull at all, I really love this CP and the approach of the author on homosexuality in this story, not pessimistic nor overly open and positive, the hurdles of homosexuality are... more>> there but not overbearingly so, the author did mention that this story is based on her environment and observation of her surroundings. I must add that I reaaaaally like the reversible dynamic of the CP!! Overall really recommend the story, nothing to reproach about it. <<less
1 Likes · Like Permalink | Report
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