Goodreads interviews author Yu Hua about his new novel The Seventh Day: A Novel, his childhood during the Cultural Revolution, and his advice for young writers:
GR: […] Meanwhile China has, of course, changed a great deal since you published your first book. Which changes have you been most eager to document? Why? And how have those changes been reflected in your writing?
YH: I am a realistic writer, and if my stories are often absurd, that’s simply because they are a projection of absurd realities. I will turn 55 this coming year, and when I look back, I realize I’ve always been living amid absurdities. The Cultural Revolution was absurd, and today’s China seems even more so. If you are constantly living in absurdity, you can easily lose your awareness of it. During the Cultural Revolution, you saw portraits of Mao Zedong everywhere, even in toilets, but nobody thought it at all strange to see Mao on the wall of a toilet. It’s just the same now: We’re all so used to the absurdities of life in China today that we don’t give them a second thought. Chinese society is constantly changing in absurd ways, and as a realistic writer, I need to keep constantly alert to such changes. If you visit China as a tourist and check into a hotel, chances are you will see a “No Smoking” sign on the coffee table—and next to it an ashtray. That’s what I want to write about—the ashtray next to the “No Smoking” sign.
[…] GR: Do you have any advice for young writers? Especially for young writers who may fear censorship?
YH: Don’t think about censorship when you’re writing— think about it only when you’re finished. [Source]
Read more by and about Yu Hua. via CDT.