Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Lu Xun: "Wandering"

I found this small collection of Lu Xun's short stories at the marvellous 2nd hand bookmarket in Rue Brancion near Porte de Vanves Metro in Paris XVe. Naturally, most of books is in French, but there is also some choice of English books, most of Far East provenience. A place worth visiting, if you are into such things.

The collection I bought bears identation as "1st Edition 1981", translated by Yang Xianyi and Gladys Yang, published in Beijing by the Foreign Languages Printing House. Very well done, in my opinion.

Not everyone knows about Lu Xun (Zhou Shuren), although he is a writer of fame in China. To make it clear, he was not a communist, although he was a leftist: he was lucky enough to live in times when it was still possible: 1881-1936. Probably he could be termed something as a George Orwell of China?

Checking in Wikipedia about him will bring you into the very interesting period of Chinese history, and following some of the links you can learn a lot (I did, even after living 10 years in Taiwan), I think Lu Xun is a good entrance to learm about China which did not happen...yet.

The short stories are about anything unusual, unhappy marriages, happy and unhappy times of ordinary people, solitary teachers in the province... In a sense it is like compressed Gao Xingjian from one of his two thick novels, but he is not as soft in writing, is more focused. Good, well written stories. One can learn well about Chinese ways of thinking from them. I think they mature well, too, but then, in Chinese world things usually mature well, often becoming a mummies of itself. Lu Xun writing stayed alive. Highly recommended.

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