“You’re stepping on my shadow, please back off,” she said.

Sun Yisheng / Nicky Harman

Guo Xuebo

郭雪波

Chinese Short Stories

Guo Xuebo has penned a dozen or so novels, and many short stories, that tend to revolve around some aspect of Mongolian culture. Key motifs include relations between man and animal, man and his environment, mankind and his bestiality, and the threat that the modern world poses to tradition. In his stories, characters are often tested by being placed in extreme surroundings such as the desert, and shamanic practices such as the andai dance for exorcising illness make their appearance.

An ethnic Mongol who grew up speaking Mongolian, Guo Xuebo is a proud spokesperson for his people, and a frank critic of what he perceives to be cultural misappropriation. When Wolf Totem, a popular novel about a young Han student who is “sent down” to the Inner Mongolian countryside during the Cultural Revolution, was made into a film by France’s Jean-Jacques Annaud, Guo Xuebo wrote an open letter condemning the novel and the film, saying they “humiliate the ancestry, distort the history and culture, and insult the Mongolian people.”

A collection of his short stories has appeared in English (The Desert Wolf), French (La renarde du désert) and Japanese (砂漠物語).