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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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... When the English translation of Mo Yan’s novel Big Breasts and Wide Hips (1996) was published in 2004, it was seen by some critics as his bid for global literary prestige. It hit all the right notes: it was a historical saga of modern China featuring a proliferation of stories, it was unceasingly violent and nasty, and it came near to puncturing Party myths ...

Sniffle

Sheng Yun: Mai Jia

10 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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... has done wonders for its reputation. It may not figure on their classics list, as Mai Jia modestly admitted to Chinese journalists, but he joins the sequence of distinguished Chinese authors Penguin has published in the last ten years, including Qian Zhongshu, Lu Xun and Eileen Chang. All the same, if Anglophone readers are after a Chinese spy ...

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 ...

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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... 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. But Ma also widens his case to ...

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