What shall we do about MO Yan 莫言?
So, which book shall we start with? MO Yan announced today that the answer is:
I’ve just listened to an 8-minute telephone interview in Chinese with MO Yan on the Nobel Prize official website, so that you don’t have to. The interview was conducted following the announcement of the winner. The interviewer Yan Shuang Lindblom asked MO Yan to pinpoint one book for his readers.
To my surprise, MO Yan named this book: 生死疲劳 (Shengsi Pilao) (lit. “Life and Death are Wearing Me Out”), which has just been published in Sweden this year.
“This book encapsulates my writing styles. It also reflects my exploration in the arts of novel writing. ”
“This book reveals my thoughts on peasants and lands. These are major concerns in the Chinese history and reality. ”
“I employed the style of oriental surrealism in this novel. ”
What does it mean, Mr Mo?
“In this novel, human and animals are interchangeable (p/s: it’s about human being reincarnated into donkey, pig, dog, monkey…). Through the eyes of animals, I observed China’s social and historical changes in the past 50 years. ”
Your language in this novel, sir?
“I used the most liberal language to reflect my deepest thoughts. ”
“Therefore, this novel is a perfect combination with my thoughts on realities, my exploration in literature and my creative writing.”
How long did it take you to write this novel?
“Actually, It only took me 43 days to complete my first draft.”
“However, the protagonist had stayed in my mind for a few decades. This novel is based on real life.”
“When I was about 6 years old, I knew exactly of a peasant who challenged the People’s Commune single-mindedly. He remained unwaving. Historically he was right in the end. However, he appeared to be at adds with the society as an extremist. He scarified himself for keeping his values. This vivid character came to this novel easily. ”
Easily Confused, # 10 by The Happy Hermit
The Mo Yan Poll by The Happy Hermit
Mo Yan wins Nobel prize in literature 2012 (guardian.co.uk)
Mo Yan Wins 2012 Nobel Prize for Literature (silverbirchpress.wordpress.com)
Chinese Novelist Mo Yan Wins the Nobel Prize for Literature (themillions.com)