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White Happy Doves

Nikil Saval: The Real Mo Yan, 29 August 2013

Change 
by Mo Yan, translated by Howard Goldblatt.
Seagull, 117 pp., £9, October 2012, 978 0 85742 160 9
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Sandalwood Death 
by Mo Yan, translated by Howard Goldblatt.
Oklahoma, 409 pp., £16, January 2013, 978 0 8061 4339 2
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Pow! 
by Mo Yan, translated by Howard Goldblatt.
Seagull, 440 pp., £19.50, December 2012, 978 0 85742 076 3
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... it was unceasingly violent and nasty, and it came near to puncturing Party myths. In the preface, Howard Goldblatt, Mo Yan’s longtime translator and advocate, reported that it had provoked anger on the mainland among ideologues for humanising the Japanese soldiers who invaded Manchuria, though there can’t have been very much anger because the novel ...

Sniffle

Yun Sheng: Mai Jia, 11 September 2014

Decoded: A Novel 
by Mai Jia, translated by Olivia Milburn and Christopher Payne.
Allen Lane, 315 pp., £18.99, March 2014, 978 0 14 139147 2
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... Chinese fiction ‘appears to be the lonely province of one man’. He was referring to Howard Goldblatt, who recently gave a talk in Shanghai on why Chinese fiction isn’t popular in the West. He argued that contemporary Chinese fiction fails to explore the inner life of characters: it is driven by plot, and often by a plodding narrative ...

Running Dogs

D.J. Enright, 13 May 1993

Red Sorghum 
by Mo Yan, translated by Howard Goldblatt.
378 pp., £14.99, March 1993, 0 434 88640 8
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... Mo Yan’s novel opens with a kind of prospectus for itself: ‘I didn’t realise until I’d grown up that Northeast Gaomi Township is easily the most beautiful and most repulsive, most unusual and most common, most sacred and most corrupt, most heroic and most bastardly, hardest-drinking and hardest-loving place in the world.’ And forthwith the narrator’s father, aged 15 in the year 1939, is seen hanging onto the coat-tails of Commander Yu Zhan’ao as the latter’s troops (forty of them, poorly armed) advance through the sorghum fields to ambush a Japanese convoy and, as it happens, kill a Japanese general ...

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