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Автор(ы):Цань Сюэ, Ван Мэн, Говард Голдблатт, Би Фейю, Дуо Дуо, Чэнь Жань, Ай Бэй, Цао Найцянь, Чи Ли, Чэнь Цунь, Гэ Фэй, Хун Ин, Цзешэн Кун, Ли Жуй, Ли Сяо, Мо Янь, Ши Тяньшэн, Ван Сянфу, Чжэнгуан Ян, Юй Хуа, Су Тун

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From Publishers Weekly

In contrast to the utopian official literature of Communist China, the stories in this wide-ranging collection marshal wry humor, entangled sex, urban alienation, nasty village politics and frequent violence. Translated ably enough to keep up with the colloquial tone, most tales are told with straightforward familiarity, drawing readers into small communities and personal histories that are anything but heroic. "The Brothers Shu," by Su Tong (Raise the Red Lantern), is an urban tale of young lust and sibling rivalry in a sordid neighborhood around the ironically named Fragrant Cedar Street. That story's earthiness is matched by Wang Xiangfu's folksy "Fritter Hollow Chronicles," about peasants' vendettas and local politics, and by "The Cure," by Mo Yan (Red Sorghum; The Garlic Ballads), which details the fringe benefits of an execution. Personal alienation and disaffection are as likely to appear in stories with rural settings (Li Rui's "Sham Marriage") as they are to poison the lives of urban characters (Chen Cun's "Footsteps on the Roof"). Comedy takes an elegant and elaborate form in "A String of Choices," Wang Meng's tale of a toothache cure, and it assumes the burlesque of small-town propaganda fodder in Li Xiao's "Grass on the Rooftop." Editor Goldblatt has chosen not to expand the contributors' biographies or elaborate on the collection's post-Tiananmen context. He lets the stories speak for themselves, which, fortunately, they do, quietly and effectively.

From Library Journal

The 20 authors represented here range from Wang Meng, the former minister of culture, to Su Tong, whose Raise the Red Lantern has been immortalized on screen.


Chinese literature has changed drastically in the past thirty years. During the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976) arts and literature of all sorts were virtually nonexistent since they were frowned upon by official powers so that attempts to produce any were apt to cause one’s public humiliation and possibly even death by the Red Guards and other unofficial arms of the government. After 1976, in the wake of Mao’s death, literature slowly regained its importance in China, and by the mid-1980s dark, angry, satirical writings had become quite prominent on the mainland.

In the wake of Tiananmen Square, dark literature faded somewhat, but never vanished. Now Howard Goldblatt, a prominent translator of Chinese fiction and editor of the critical magazine Modern Chinese Literature, has compiled a representative collection of contemporary Chinese fiction entitled Chairman Mao Would Not Be Amused. Even with my limited knowledge of modern China I feel certain the title of the book is fairly accurate.

Mo Yan is one of my favorite contemporary writers. His dark, no-holds-barred satires Red Sorghum and The Garlic Ballads detailed what he sees as the failings of both Chinese peasants (of which he was born as one) and the Chinese leaders. His short story "The Cure" is in the same vein, detailing how a local government representative-probably self-appointed during the Cultural Revolution, although that is never made quite clear in the story-leads a lynching of the village’s two most prominent leaders and their wives. But, as in most Mo Yan stories, the bitterness directed at the lyncher is double-edged with the bitter look at a local peasant who sees the deaths of the two village leaders as a desperate chance to possibly rescue his mother from impending blindness. The story is coldly realistic and totally chilling in the rational way it treats the series of events.

Su Tong is the author of the novella "Raise The Red Lantern", the basis of the wonderful movie. His "The Brothers Shu" is a bitter look at some traditional character weaknesses of Chinese people, and particularly how they affect family life. The Shu family is incredibly dysfunctional. The father nightly climbs up the side of his two-family house to have sex with the woman upstairs until her husband bolts her windows shut. So the woman sneaks downstairs to have sex in the younger son’s bedroom while the son is tied to his bed, gagged and blindfolded. Meanwhile the elder son abuses the girl upstairs until she falls in love with him. When she becomes pregnant, they are both so shamed they form a suicide pact, tie themselves together and jump into a river, where the boy is rescued in time but the girl dies. The younger son so hates his older brother-somewhat deservedly considering the abuse heaped on him by the brother-that he pours gasoline through his bedroom and sets it ablaze.

And so on, complete with beatings and torments worthy of the most dysfunctional American families. While not a particularly likeable cast of characters, the story is strong and thoughtful.

Perhaps the most moving part about "First Person", by Shi Tiesheng is in the brief author description in the back of the book. Shi is described as “crippled during the Cultural Revolution”. So many lives were needlessly destroyed during that tumultuous decade, it is easy to feel that the arrest and subsequent conviction of the notorious Gang of Four was not nearly sufficient punishment for them.

"First Person" tells the story of a man with a heart condition-Shi frequently writes about the lives of handicapped people, according to his description-who is visiting his new 21st floor apartment for the first time. While climbing the stairs very slowly, taking frequent rests, he notices a cemetery separated from the apartment building by a huge wall. On one side of the wall is sitting a woman, while on the other side stands a man. As the man climbs the stairs he fantasizes about why the couple are there, and why they are separated by the wall. Perhaps the man is having an affair, and the wife is spying on him as he rendezvous with his lover?

But then the man notices a baby lying on a gravesite, being watched from a distance by the man, and he realizes that the couple is abandoning the child. An interesting story about the fanciful delusions a person can have, but with no real depth beyond that.

Two stories involve fear of dentists in completely different ways. Wang Meng’s "A String of Choices" is a very funny story that combines a bitter look at both Eastern and Western medicine with perhaps the most extreme case of fear of dentists imaginable. Chen Ran’s "Sunshine Between the Lips" tells of a young girl whose adult male friend exposes himself to her. If that were not traumatic enough, after he is arrested for exposing himself to a complete stranger, he sets his apartment on fire and dies a brutal death. This event, combined with a near-fatal bout of meningitis, creates in the girl a deep fear of phallic objects such as needles and penises. So imagine her trauma when she develops impacted wisdom teeth at the same time as she gets married. While this description might sound a bit ludicrous, this story is very serious and very well-executed.

A strong satire on how history can be rewritten to suit the writers’ needs is Li Xiao’s "Grass on the Rooftop". When a peasant’s hut goes on fire, he is rescued by a local student. The rescue is written up for an elementary school newspaper by a local child, but the story is picked up by other papers, changing radically with each reprinting until the rescuing student becomes a great hero of the Maoist revolution because of his supposed attempt to rescue a nonexistent portrait of Mao on the wall of the hut. While this story is uniquely Chinese in many ways, it resonates in all societies in which pride and agenda is often more important than the truth.

Anybody interested in a look at contemporary Chinese society should enjoy this collection immensely.

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Howard Goldblatt (Editor)

Chairman Mao Would Not Be Amused – Fiction From Today's China

Howard Goldblatt – Introduction

I sometimes wonder what Chairman Mao, who almost single-handedly launched, then single-mindedly derailed, the Chinese Revolution, might have thought of the literature published since his death in 1976. Taking the long view, I think he would have approved of "scar literature," a cathartic body of writing that voices the sufferings of the Cultural Revolution, for its success in pacifying the people at a difficult historical moment; after all, if, for the time being, they could not be united under the banner of permanent, violent revolution, why not keep them busy airing their collective discontent, mainly with one another? Mao knew the value and limitations of literature and writers, and he trusted neither. Yet he knew how to harness their power; over the years, he had used literature and the arts both to bring down his enemies-most of them erstwhile friends-and to keep the people's attention focused on his political agenda. If national events and socialist behavior remained the raison d'etre of the writing, it served his purposes. The fiction that began appearing shortly after his death was, by any reasonable literary standard, rather badly written; but that would not have concerned Mao, for in his earliest pronouncements on literature, back in the Yan'an caves in the 1940s, he had said, "Literature and art are subordinate to politics, but in their turn exert a great influence on politics." By focusing on the evils wrought by the renegade Gang of Four, and thus deflecting charges of responsibility away from the Party and the current government, this generally amateurish writing played a significant political role in the days immediately following the Cultural Revolution.

"Scar literature" gave way in the late 1970s and early 1980s to "introspective writing" and "root-seeking literature," both of which would have fit nicely into Mao's plans to keep the socialist pot boiling. The questions posed in the fiction of this period-like, Why are we the way we are? and What are the origins of our Chineseness?-are just the sort of questions Mao would have wanted people to ask, since he could have been counted on to provide the answers. And if the writers went a bit far afield, or strayed into one form of heresy or another, then they would become grist for his mill, a mill that produced exemplars for the next generation. Indeed, there were some anxious moments, as when the avant-garde versifiers known as "misty poets" renounced a collective mentality with their imagistic, impenetrable poems; but who reads poetry anyway? Mao would have merely swatted them away with one of his famed waves of the hand, a superior smile on his face, smug with the knowledge that the "neo-realistic" prose then capturing the imagination of readers in China and in the West was highly politicized, making it one more potential weapon to be used by those in power to retain that power.

The literary scene in the mid-1980s was charged, as large numbers of readers were won over by the passion of writers hewing to the role of social reformer. Finally, people assumed, a literature of dissent worthy of the name was emerging: stories revealing the ugly side of the revolution, poems that sang the praises of romantic love, dramas that acted out some of the dangers facing the Chinese nation, even films portraying the betrayal of the revolution by people within the Communist Party and the government itself! But Mao, I think, would not have been concerned, knowing it was only a matter of time before someone went too far and the orthodoxy of power could reassert itself. Mao must have known that the only truly dangerous writing in a totalitarian society is that which ignores politics altogether, literature that serves art, not society. Anti-Party diatribes? They would play right into his hands. Lurid sex and gratuitous violence? He certainly had nothing against either of those in real life. Utopian pie in the sky? What, after all, is Marxism?

But then China 's new leaders turned their guns on their own students and workers, and the ensuing loss of faith, coupled with the supremely individualistic desire to get rich quick, changed almost everything in China, including its literature. I suspect that even the chairman's confidence would have been shaken by reactions to events of June 1989. The writers responded to the new realities by staking out territory independent of societal and political pressures; they were now more interested in mocking the government and socialist society than in trying to reform them, more concerned with the reception of their work by the international community than with their status in China. If Mao were still around and running the show, I'll bet that few, if any, of the stories in the present collection would have pleased him. At best he might have asked, "What's the point?" At worst… well, we mustn't get carried away. Most troubling to him, I suspect, would have been the artistry-the playfulness of some of the pieces, the angst-ridden introspection of others, and the layered possibilities of most; that, of course, and their lack of utility, something no socialist revolutionary could abide. No, if confronted by the literary offerings of the twenty men and women represented here, Chairman Mao would certainly not be amused.

All the selections in this anthology were written or first published in China proper; the earliest pieces appeared in 1985, the most recent in late 1993. Novelists who left China more than a decade ago, those who have moved on to other pursuits (most, in contemporary terms, to take the plunge-that is, become entrepreneurs), and those from other Chinese communities-Taiwan, Hong Kong, Southeast Asia, the West-are not represented here; their work can be found in translation elsewhere.

Many people have graciously contributed to this anthology: Colin Dickerman, who suggested the project; Shelley Wing Chan, who performed many important tasks for me as the project built up steam; friends and colleagues who either commented upon the growing list of authors and stories or made recommendations of their own; and, of course, the accomplished translators, who maintained their composure and humor even when I could not. On behalf of the authors whose work graces the pages that follow, I thank them all.


Shi Tiensheng – First Person

That year, in the fall, I was assigned housing. It wasn't a bad apartment, just too high up, on the twenty-first story, and a long way from downtown. I took half a day off work to go have a look. The trip took almost two hours by bus, and by the time I got there, it was already after four o'clock. I saw it right away. Just as I had been told, it was the only building for about a mile around. It was white and surrounded by a green brick wall. The area was pleasant, with trees on three sides and a river to the south. The river flowed west to east, just as I had been told. The wall ran right up against the riverbank, and a small bridge led to the courtyard gate.

Even so, as I walked through the gate, I was thinking I should make sure I'd come to the right place. Near the western wall stood a huge parasol tree; a young woman was sitting against its trunk in the quiet, concentrated shade. I walked over and asked her if this was the building I was looking for. I didn't think I was speaking too quietly. She lifted her head, seemed to glance at me, and then settled back down as before, looking with lowered eyes at the shifting dots of light that the autumn sun was sprinkling down through the shade. It was as if I no longer existed. I stood waiting for a while, and then I heard her murmur, "Go with the flow." Her voice was quite soft, but she spoke each word slowly and distinctly. I nodded. I was positive I no longer existed. Her thoughts were off in a fantasy land. Some vulgar noise had disturbed her for a minute, that was all. I felt a little apologetic and a little abashed, so I stepped back, turned away, and walked straight for the front door of the apartment building, thinking that this had to be the place.

The building appeared empty; people hadn't started moving in yet. No one was there to run the elevators, which were all locked. I have heart trouble, but since I'd come so far, I couldn't just leave after one look at the stairs. I figured that as long as I didn't try to go fast, I wouldn't have much of a problem climbing to the twenty-first floor. "Go with the flow" was what the girl said. That seemed to be sincere, appropriate advice, so I took a few deep breaths and started to climb. When I reached the third floor, I stopped to catch my breath. I leaned out the window and caught sight of the girl. She was still sitting there in a trance, her head slightly lowered, her hands resting casually on her knees. On her simple, elegant skirt, dots of sunlight and shade silently divided and then combined, gathered together and fell apart again. "Go with the flow" was what she said. Actually, when she said it, she didn't see me and didn't hear any vulgar noise. She didn't see anything and didn't hear anything. She was a thousand miles away. I couldn't see her face, but I could sense her tranquillity and enchantment. The autumn wind swept invisibly past the huge parasol tree, making a soft, dignified sound.

On a fall evening, when the sun was about to set, she left home alone, locking the gradually gathering twilight in her room. She walked where she pleased along paths through the fields. She followed the smells of the grasses and the earth as she walked where she pleased. Who was she? She walked to a remote, quiet place and sat down facing a tall, empty building. She leaned against an ancient tree. She sat in its deep, swaying shade, sat in the low, chanting sound it made. She made the place her own. Who was she? She thought about things near and distant, about things real and illusory. Her mind and body slipped into a natural, mysterious realm… A woman like that, who could she be? A woman to be admired.

Книгу Цань Сюэ, Ван Мэн, Говард Голдблатт, Би Фейю, Дуо Дуо, Чэнь Жань, Ай Бэй, Цао Найцянь, Чи Ли, Чэнь Цунь, Гэ Фэй, Хун Ин, Цзешэн Кун, Ли Жуй, Ли Сяо, Мо Янь, Ши Тяньшэн, Ван Сянфу, Чжэнгуан Ян, Юй Хуа, Су Тун ] скачать бесплатно,

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