Gu Hua 古华
wikipedia | MCLC |
The first iteration of China's much-criticized Mao Dun Prize for Literature went to Gu Hua (real name Luo Hongyu) for his 1981 novel Hibiscus Town, which narrates twenty years in the life of a young woman in the remote Hunan town of Hibiscus as the Four Cleanups and the Cultural Revolution transform her from a well-off proprietor at a tofu restaurant to a penniless, cast-out street sweeper. The book delves also into the lives of other members of the town -- Party officials, businesspeople, Rightists -- to reveal the extent to which national policy during those twenty years warped human relations, and the ways in which human nature warped national policy. A few years later, the book was made into a movie, which became a classic itself.
Though once published in English by Panda Books in 1983, Hibiscus Town has never been published in translation by a Western publishing house. Later works by Gu Hua have appeared in English, such as his novella "Climbing the Cottage" and his second novel, Virgin Widows.
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