Jump to content
  • Sign Up

Anyone read any 阎连科 / Yan Lianke?


Recommended Posts

I've been reading a bit about Yan Lianke and it looks like his stuff might be quite interesting. He's had a few books banned, a few published, and admits to censoring what he writes in order to get it published. The description of Serve the People didn't really interest me - desecration of revolutionary images, sex, yawn - but he's won a couple of prestigious awards so I thought I might give his short stories a look.

Anyone read any or got any advice on where to start? I was going to look at 年月日, a short story collection which won the Lu Xun award in 2000.

Here's a Wikipedia link for you, just because I can, and more on ESWN

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've only read his long stuff, I'm afraid. He himself considers Serve the People a minor work. Banning does weird things to aesthetic standards. But the novel 受活 is great fun and does interesting things with local culture and extensive footnotes.

He's not universally praised, however. A couple of years ago I was talking to Fan Wen 范稳, author of bestselling novels about foreigners in western Sichuan and Tibet, and he didn't consider Yan Lianke a real writer, just someone who was playing with words.

Tell us how his short stuff turns out.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

收活 turned up today - a quick flick through seems quite promising, there's some interesting stuff in the footnotes. Not sure when I'll get to it as 三体 was in the same delivery, which is much more tempting, and I've also (and don't ask me how, I don't know) ended up reading a chunk of 曾子墨's autobiography. She's started to really irritate me, but I'm far enough in I think I might just finish out of bloody-mindedness.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...

About a third of the way through, really enjoying it. The village scenes are great fun, without turning anyone into comedy peasants - or for that matter comedy cripples, the back story of the village and how 茅枝婆 ended up there (just finished the footnote on 入社) is keeping me interested, and I suspect there's going to be a whole load of enjoyment to be had from the 茅枝婆 / 县长 conflict.

Also loving the writing - I find the village comes across very vividly and some of the images - a man dressed up being like southern bananas on a northern date tree; post-snowfall trees holding great white umbrellas - are arresting. The dialogue is also well done.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 4 weeks later...

Finished this over the last couple of days, after having set it aside for a couple of weeks for no good reason. Overall really enjoyed it, definitely worth the read. I was kind of disappointed with the way that 茅枝婆 and 刘县长 both had their stories end separately, rather than in some kind of showdown. Loved 刘县长's character and personality cult though.

What to read now, what to read now. Perhaps a nice magazine, with pictures and short articles :D

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 4 years later...

Bit of a bump, but I happened to notice the Kindle edition of Cindy Carter's translation of Yan's Dream of Ding Village on Amazon.co.uk* for the very reasonable price of no pounds and 99 pence.

*Sorry if you don't live in .co.uk. And that's an affiliate link, I'm trying to figure out if people ever buy stuff from links on here. The answer so far is "no."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and select your username and password later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Click here to reply. Select text to quote.

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...