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Recommendations on Non-Depressing Short Stories


trevelyan

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Title pretty much says it all. I'd be interested in hearing recommendations others might have on *classic* and relatively short Chinese stories or readings that are not terminally depressing. Ideally before about 1970 but after 1800. I know that this restriction basically disqualifies upwards of 99% of Chinese literature, but what is left? Stories that involve any of the following memes are out:

* dead or dying family members

* admiring the courage and tenaciousness of the destitute

* my love will last forever - even though you are gone / dead / revolutionary

* family pets which get eaten / skinned

* my unfilial shame

Before San Mao got depressed her writing was great. So what else is out there that is funny, charming, exciting, adventurous and doesn't involve wallowing in collective social pity? Recommendations on specific stories rather than simply authors would be fantastic.

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Mianmian 绵绵? Candy and Xiongmao (Panda Sex). Hm, does involve a dead family member, and she gets addicted to drugs in Candy, but it's not really depressing.

I ran into the same problem in a Modern Chinese lit course, and after I complained we read Shorbulak (the Chinese title is Xia'erbulake or something similar), by Zhang Xianliang. It's more upbeat, truck driver runs into some serious problems but confronts them with character and in the end he gets a happy ending, but it also rings a bit false because of that.

And if I recall correctly Jia Pingwa 贾平凹 also wrote some stories that are maybe not entirely happy-happy, but at least not depressing.

Or you could try something by Li Ao 李敖, he doesn't write short stories but political criticism, but he can 骂 so well that it's extremely funny.

I realize that all this is from well after 1970, but I hope it's of some use to you anyway.

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I just thought of another one, 'Annals of a Provincial Town 小城春秋' by Gao Yunlan 高云览. This is actually not a short story but a novel, but considering the difficulty of finding non-depressing texts I thought I'd post it anyway.

The book is about the progress of the Communists in Xiamen in the 1930s/40s. It's slightly propagandic, but not annoyingly so, the communists in this book are brave yet human heroes. It's essentialy an adventure book, with escapes from prison and the like. A nice read. I read it in English, so am not sure how difficult it is.

Edit: and anything by Jin Yong, of course. People seem to die in his stories quite often, but what I read was awesome nonetheless.

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Chinese stories or readings that are not terminally depressing. Ideally before about 1970 but after 1800.

A hundred and seventy depressing years of Chinese history, I'm afraid. By "non-depressing," do you mean "light"? I'm sure there were ghost stories and martial arts stories written in this period. They are usually pretty entertaining if you are in a certain frame of mind. I don't think Lu Xun is that depressing, either. He's got a pretty good sense of humor for a Chinese writer of that period.

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Some of the stories match your "out" descriptions unfortunately but I don't know the timing and I enjoy the readings. The book is no longer published. These texts are manually input, so they could be typos(!). The audio is also provided.

http://orientaler.com/china/wenxue/mrhy1/index.php

Other stories in Chinese:

http://orientaler.com/china/wenxue/index.php

Click on: скачать MP3 (... Kb) to download MP3 audio for each story. Sometimes quality is not the best, sorry not my site.

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Do you mind didactic stories? I recall a reader published by one of those foreign language presses that had a whole slew of short, edifying stories by famous authors. 《落花生》 by 许地山 was the first story; I can't remember the others but it seems like this kind of short piece is used for Mandarin practice among speakers of other regional dialects - check out a search to find related short bits.

荷花淀 by 孙犁 is a wartime piece where no one dies (except for the faceless enemy). There's other stuff from that time period in that vein -

And you could do worse than 一日 by 陈衡哲, which, though vaguely depressing in its sense of loneliness, might still be amusing to a Chinese language learner.

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Before San Mao got depressed her writing was great. So what else is out there that is funny, charming, exciting, adventurous and doesn't involve wallowing in collective social pity? Recommendations on specific stories rather than simply authors would be fantastic.

May I recommend some short, light but interesting Zen stories?

http://www.foxie.cn/com/foqugushi/gushi/%EC%F8%D1%A7%B9%CA%CA%C2%CF%B5%C1%D0%20-%20%D6%D0%B9%FA%B7%F0%BD%CC%D0%AD%BB%E1.htm

Thanks!

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