China’s hit novel: tremendous or trash? – David Barboza

In the International Herald Tribune, David Barboza writes about author and his book, Brothers, which is a best seller is China:

7532129020.01-Am9Anjqlii2Bj. Scthumbzzz V63376019 The most talked about novel in China this year is “Brothers” by Yu Hua, a surreal tale of two stepbrothers coming of age during the economic boom.

The novel, which was published in two volumes in 2005 and 2006, has sold nearly a million copies here, a remarkable achievement in a country where book piracy is widespread and novels are easily downloaded for free over the Internet.

The China of Yu’s imagination is a kind of comic-book version of the real thing. It is lawless, frenetic place, where corruption, gambling, prostitution and shady business deals are commonplace. [Full text]

Read more about Yu Hua, including this article from People’s Daily:

“Brothers is the best book I’ve ever written so far, because it is my latest darling,” Chinese avant-garde novelist Yu Hua joked.

Attending a symposium organized by the ongoing Hong Kong Book Fair 2006, Yu, whose To Live was awarded the Grinzane Cavour Award in Italy in 1998, shared his writing experience and answered questions of the readers.

usually value their latest works, so am I. When I finished writing To Live, I liked it very much. When I published Chronicle of a Blood Merchant, I regarded that fiction as my best work. But just half a year later, I lost interest in both of them, ” Yu said.

“But this time, things may change. Brothers, my latest work, would probably be my truly favorite fiction because I have discovered my unknown writing genius during the writing.”

What is the “unknown writing genius” as Yu said? The guts to write life in the contemporary China.

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