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Anna Xiao Dong Sun: Is there more to Ma Jian than politics?, 8 July 2004

The Noodle Maker 
by Ma Jian, translated by Flora Drew.
Chatto, 179 pp., £10.99, May 2004, 0 7011 7605 9
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... Ma Jian wrote The Noodle Maker in 1990, four years after he left China for Hong Kong, then still a British colony. When Hong Kong was handed over to China in 1997, he left for Europe, living first in Germany, and later moving to London. Red Dust, the English translation of his memoir about three years’ wandering in remote parts of China, was published in 2001 ...

Keep squeezing

Sam Sacks: Ma Jian, 26 September 2013

The Dark Road 
by Ma Jian, translated by Flora Drew.
Chatto, 360 pp., £16.99, April 2013, 978 0 7011 8753 8
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... Ma Jian’s new novel, The Dark Road, also serves as an indictment of the Chinese government and the crimes it has committed in the name of modernisation. Its principal target is the one-child policy, imposed in 1978 and still officially in effect, which has led to mass campaigns of forced sterilisation and abortion, as well as infanticide and child trafficking ...


Michael Wood: Chinese Whispers, 8 August 2013

edited by Adam Thirlwell.
Portobello, 380 pp., £20, August 2013, 978 1 84627 537 1
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... plan, a model of willed ordinariness. Or only the imitation of such a model. How could he know? Ma Jian (as seen through Tash Aw’s translation) translates into Chinese not only Smith’s English but also Pontiggia’s Italy. He keeps Italian touches – the hero is half-Italian – but the politics and the wars belong to China, as do the ways one ...

White Happy Doves

Nikil Saval: The Real Mo Yan, 29 August 2013

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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by Mo Yan, translated by Howard Goldblatt.
Seagull, 440 pp., £19.50, December 2012, 978 0 85742 076 3
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... language was ‘diseased’ by Maoism, as much Chinese writing after 1949 inevitably was: even Ma Jian, an exile whose novels take on such taboo topics as the one-child policy (in The Dark Road) and the Tiananmen protests (in Beijing Coma), has been infected with Maospeak. (The only pure writer under this rubric was Ha Jin, who, Link said, ‘writes ...

In Shanghai

Jeremy Harding: Portrait of the Times, 10 October 2013

... the viewer should adopt in order to cancel the distortion. ‘Woodcut Collection’ (1979) by Ma Desheng ‘Spring’ (1979) by Wang Hai ‘Father’ (1980) by Luo Zhongli ‘The Third Generation’ (1984) by Hu Duoling ‘Self Portrait – A Subjugated Soul’ (1985-9) by Cai Guo ‘Human Beings with their Clock No. 2’ (1987) by Ziang Jianjun ‘Big ...

On Not Going Home

James Wood, 20 February 2014

... of successful capitalism, and of a globalised aesthetic that prizes writers who, like Orhan Pamuk, Ma Jian and Haruki Murakami, are thought to have transcended local issues and acquired a ‘universal relevance’.It’s hard not to share the derision, once the victim has been so tendentiously trussed. Who could possibly approve of this ...

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