The book is composed of keywords and performative writing around them, in reference to a particular genre of ancient Chinese literature that arises from left-over or marginal history. These ghostly forms of writing were a mixture of retelling, rewriting, commentary and fantasy, telling uncanny tales that couldn't be told from the standpoint of the scholar-bureaucrats at that time. In such anthologies of anecdotes, the boundaries between the illusionary and historical discourse were deliberately blurred.