Shen Congwen, a writer once banned in China and Taiwan.

Shen Congwen is one of the greatest Chinese writers of the pre-war period. Hence the importance of the recent release in France of “The Journey to Xiang and other short stories”(1) that illustrates the talent of the writer in various styles.

His life and career are totally atypical. His family is a blend of the dominant Han population and the Miao and Tujia minorities in the beautiful region of south-central China, Hunan. He enlisted in … Lire la suite

Shen Congwen and Zhang Zhaohe, married for over fifty years…

The release a few weeks ago of a book by Shen Congwen (which will be discussed later): “The journey to Xiang and other short stories” (1), has led me to read again his translated works and also to discover a remarkable book, “Four sisters of Hofei “by Annping Chin. She was born in Taiwan in 1950, a professor in the History Department at Yale University and the wife of Jonathan Spence, the well-known academic.

Annping … Lire la suite

Mo Yan: short stories by a Nobel prize.

When we speak of Mo Yan we specially mention his novels, his “long” novels which sometimes  and wrongly scare away some readers. But he wrote more than a hundred short stories and many “short” novels and novellas. As he mentions in his foreword to “Shifu …”, a collection of short stories published in the United States: “the stature of a writer can only be determined by the thought revealed in a work, not by its … Lire la suite

In China, officialdom novels: more than a hundred titles per year.

A thousand years long tradition had an unintended consequence in recent years, the development of a new literary genre: officialdom novels. This is why it is good news that Penguin China has published a few weeks ago “The civil servant notebook” by Wang Xiaofang, the great master of the genre, translated by Eric Abrahamsen, one of the founders of the well known site www.paper-republic.org  who lives in Beijing since 2001.

1 / The notebook of Lire la suite

Han Dong, an independent writer in Nanjing.

Han Dong is almost unknown in France, his books are not yet translated. This is not the case in the UK because of the efforts of a well-known translator Nicky Harman, who was kind enough to answer our many questions about this writer.

1 /The father, a writer, a family “sent to the countryside”:

Han Dong was born in Nanjing in 1961, he was the son of Han Jianguo (1930-1979), better known by the name … Lire la suite

Tan Twan Eng, a Malaysian writer for a British literary prize ?

Tan Twan Eng est un écrivain malaisien d’origine chinoise qui partage son temps entre l’île de Pénang où il est né et l’Afrique du Sud où il réside.

On a parlé, il y a quelques années, de son premier livre « A Gift of Rain », qui n’est malheureusement pas traduit en français. Ce livre avait été remarqué et figuré dans la première sélection du Booker prize, le Goncourt anglais. Son deuxième roman, très réussi, … Lire la suite

Yan Lianke and “The Four books”, a novel on totalitarian madness.

The end of the holiday period provides us with a major book from a Chinese novelist whom we had the pleasure to interview twice: Yan Lianke.

We remember for sure “Serve the People”, the “Dream of Ding Village”, “The Joy of living” published in 2009, and a beautiful text, “The Days, the months, the years”.

In “The Four Books”, he recalls the Great Leap Forward, the disastrous economic reforms imposed by Mao Zedong from 1958 … Lire la suite

Anni Baobei: a flower in the dark.

This is the nickname given to Anni Baobei by her”fans” for her novels of desolation and isolation. She is one of the most famous authors in modern China particularly among women and people under 35. “The Road of Others,” a collection of three newly-published (1) short stories is the translation of her first book “Goodbye Vivian” (2001). This short story, first published online secured her immediate fame.

1 – A literary star of the internet:… Lire la suite

Qiu Xiaolong: more than detective stories in my life !

Qiu Xiaolong, whom I met recently, noted that one speaks mainly of his detective novels. This mentioned without acrimony, as he is a model of courtesy, but I have to take this into account: for Qiu Xiaolong, the main thing is poetry!

Poetry, from theTang to TS Eliot and … Qiu Xiaolong.

His research for a thesis on the Anglo-American poet TS Eliot, led him to St. Louis (Missouri) with a grant from the Ford … Lire la suite

Qiu Xiaolong and “Cyber China”, internet and corruption in China.

Qiu Xiaolong, a Shanghai writer who emigrated to the USA, has published during many years detective novels which are enthralling and detailed analysis of the social and political developments in modern China. During his recent visit to Paris, we were able to ask a few questions concerning his latest book, “Cyber China”.

In this novel, Zhou Keng, Director of the Planning Commission of Shanghai, committed suicide in a famous hotel, Villa Moller.

Chen Cao, our … Lire la suite

In the Guimet museum, “Scholar rocks”, at the hart of Chinese culture.

You can visit until June 25, at the Guimet Museum in Paris, a beautiful exhibition on Chinese scholars, “scholar rocks” and the objects which make up their “treasures”.

Unlike in the West, stones more than plants play a vital role in Chinese gardens. The rugged and monumental rocks, as from the seventh century, will begin to enter the studios of scholars in a reduced size and installed on pedestals of precious wood.

The vogue of … Lire la suite

Shirley Geok-Lin Lim: from Malaysia to California.

Shirley Geok-Lin Lim is a writer, poet and academic, well known in the U.S., ignored in France, where not even a line is translated. Yet she is a leading figure and a talented writer who can be discovered by reading her memoirs, probably her best novel “Among the white moon faces” (1). /

1 / Malacca, the sleepy hollow:

 

Born in Malacca in 1944, a beautiful city, 150 kilometers south of Kuala Lumpur, … Lire la suite