China Daily sidebar on Yan Lianke: synopses of 5 novels

A sidebar in the China Daily features synopses of five Yan Lianke novels, three of which have been banned in mainland China. Interesting.


# 1.   

Which three have been banned?

Bruce, March 17, 2010, 1:12a.m.

# 2.   

Serve the People, Dream of Ding Village and (I believe) Hard as Water.

Cindy Carter, March 17, 2010, 7:07a.m.

# 3.   

The BANNED IN CHINA buzz around Dream of Ding Village and Serve the People definitely put me off. I came around to him after reading Fengyasong and really digging it, and then picking up Dream of Ding Village (for a modern Chinese lit class) and, honestly, being surprised at how good it was-- one of the best novels of the last decade, I'll say.

Dylan, March 21, 2010, 8:01p.m.

# 4.   

Yes, the "banned in China" label is tedious, but considering the abysmal sales figures for Chinese books in translation (Amazon sales rankings make me want to weep), the gimmick becomes more understandable.

By the way, if you enjoyed the Chinese version of Dream of Ding Village - and I agree, it's a gorgeous read, miles beyond Serve the People - Shouhuo (The Joy of Living/Bitterjoy) will make you want to stand up and shout. It's Yan Lianke's finest (and most deliciously subversive, in my opinion) work of fiction. Oddly enough, it has never been banned.

Cindy Carter, March 21, 2010, 8:39p.m.

# 5.   

Addendum to the last: Yan Lianke's Jianying ru shui/Hard as Water and Nian yue ri/The Date, The Month, The Year are also well worth reading and - publishers take note! - translating.

Cindy Carter, March 21, 2010, 8:54p.m.

# 6.   

Agree with Cindy that "The joy of living" is to my opinion his finest among the four novels translated in French but "The date, the month, the year" is a beautiful piece of literature and the translation by Brigitte Guilbaud is very talented. PS- Yan Lianke will attend Le Salon du Livre this week end in Paris.

bertrand mialaret, March 23, 2010, 5:46p.m.

# 7.   

Dear Bertrand - thank you for the news about Yan Lianke's appearance at Le Salon du Livre. If you happen to come across any interesting news articles about the event, or any French-language interviews with Yan Lianke, will you post links to them here on Paper Republic? Thanks.

Cindy Carter, March 24, 2010, 5:06a.m.

# 8.   

CORRECTION: Bruce asked which of Yan Lianke's books have been banned. I mentioned Serve the People, Dream of Ding Village and Hard as Water (坚硬如水/Jianying ru shui). I was wrong about the third: Hard as Water encountered "political" difficulties that were eventually smoothed over by a well-connected publisher and some elegiac grovelling; the other banned book was actually Summer Sunset (夏日落/Xiariluo). My apologies.

Cindy Carter, March 24, 2010, 11:30a.m.


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