Re: Mo Yan: Pow!
There are two different attitudes toward Modern Chinese Literature. One is that Chinese literature is flourishing and growing and moving toward a positive future with various writers publishing large quantities of characteristic works representing modern China in all-round, all-respect and all-considerate perspectives; the other is quite negative and cynical in saying that there's no literature in modern China for the reasons: a. the reformation of Chinese language--abolishing the ancient language and adopting the standardized Chinese language which many foreigners are learning--has created an irreparable rupture between the ancient (or classice) Chinese literature and the modern. It makes the language lose the brevity and rhythmical beauty as well as the esoteric attributes and profundity that those old words had carried. The reformation of language or the commonizaton of it is aimed at the popularity and easy accessibility among ordinary people (very possible for the purpose of government's control over them); b. Many books are similar in their themes which will include corruption in politics and loss of morality in society, which come up to take large part of the content, turning the books into mere propaganda for another version of unrealistic or desperate political aspirations. While the subject or the humanity appears to be reduced or diminished by the social or political constructs. The books become a stack of (usually unsophisticated) statements rather than actual pieces of writings.
Back to Mo Yan. I liked his pen name. In Chinese, it means "don't speak", "hold thy tongue" or "say no more." Therefore, I tried to read him a little bit, but those book titles with political implications and deliberate mythical allusions discourage me greatly. I can't remember which book I have chosen that time but I do remember casting the book away for the impossibility to continue to read those nagging and obviously forced-in words. Modern Chinese writers don't care or even know how to use proper words in proper places, and they have to enforce their ideas rather than putting them out easily with careful artistry.
I haven't seen any English translation of his works. It might be different in translation, I would not know. It is ridiculous to say he's Chinese Kafka.
Life is many days, day after day.