Helen Gao introduces the newly released English version of Han Han’s book, “This Generation”. At Los Angeles Review of Books:
Han’s latest book (and first in English), This Generation: Dispatches from China’s Most Popular Literary Star (and Race Car Driver), translated by Allan Barr, is a compilation of selected blog posts from 2007 through 2012. In these online essays, Han discusses a range of issues weighing heavily on the minds of members of our generation — corruption, nationalism, and censorship, among others — in a variety of voices and postures. Barr faithfully preserves both the essence of Han’s arguments and his literary style in his translation and makes the pieces digestible for Western readers by tying up some wandering sentences and clarifying the occasionally elusive logic in the original Chinese texts. Though a small part of Han’s humor, based on Chinese wordplay, does not always carry over into English, more than enough survives to give the reader an authentic taste of the writings of someone who is China’s funniest and also among its most influential commentators on contemporary issues.
[…] In his book, Han characterizes my generation as a “disconnected” one. Communist ideals, together with its unifying power, waned in the 1980s and never took root in our hearts; new barriers such as widening income inequality and stalled social mobility further erode the generational cohesion. Better education, unprecedented access to the outside world and increasing domestic transparency facilitated by social media have enabled us to identify the issues discussed in Han’s writing, but many have chosen to focus on the narrow path immediately ahead. Bogged down by the pressure of living, denied a free channel of speech, and thus locked in our individual worries, what to do but to, say, calculate how long it might take before you can save enough for a down payment on your first apartment? [Source]