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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 MoYan’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 ...

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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... round and round in circles like an ox at a well. Chinese novelists plug away for so long that Goldblatt feels obliged to remove redundant passages or rewrite them (his editors agree). Take note: the MoYan you have in English is a Goldblatt version of the original. It’s rumoured in China that MoYan passes all the royalties from his novels in English to his ambassador-rewriter, who remarked drily ...

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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... MoYan’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 ...

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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... not first appeared during a particularly reactionary period it’s likely he would have been allowed to publish for a Chinese readership, and his fiction might look much more like that of Zhu Wen and MoYan – writers he has criticised for failing to show solidarity with exiled or imprisoned intellectuals. Beijing Coma, unlike The Noodle Maker, seems to have been written for an exclusively Western ...

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