Category Archive: Peony Author Press

Les années fastes, par Chan Koonchung

La Chine, le meilleur des mondes? Chan Koochung livre sa version des faits dans un roman réussi.

Fat Years French Click here to read more »

阿乙:我最开始想写一部《罪与罚》

一个作者,还是一个正义的作者”,这是阿乙新书《下面,我该干些什么》自序的标题,与文化圈争论的“知识分子是否一定要是时代的道德精英”一样,奉上符合普世价值观的圆满,或是奉上真实世界,始终是一个艰难的选择。阿乙选择了后者。文 李谦

《下面,我该干些什么》是阿乙的第三本小说,也是首部长篇,与之前的《灰故事》、《鸟看见我了》都不相同,这次的故事是一个漫长的、却又倏尔即过的杀人事件。主人公从准备杀人、买凶器、逃亡、自首,甚至到申诉一环不少,唯独没有的,是一个人人渴望了解、然后能狠狠啐上一口的“动机”。是的,小说里的十九岁男孩毫无缘由地杀死了自己善良的女同学,而这“毫无原由”分明又是一个积怨已久、极充分的理由——这个操蛋的世界。

“它把我挖空了,在一段时间内我可能都会很焦躁。”阿乙说这是他写得最苦的一本小说,无论从精神上还是肉体上。写这本书时他在某门户网站上班,非常辛苦。一个作家在累死人不偿命的IT公司工作可以有很多种原因,当时吸引阿乙的则是网络公司丰厚的住房公积金。没错,催结婚、交月供、巨大的工作压力都是阿乙厌恶的,但是他打算牺牲一部分自己以慰藉逐渐苍老的父亲。
一年以后小说写完了,阿乙回到了那个惯于忧虑的状态。由于长时间对生死的思考,让他的论调变得不那么平易近人,却又真实得让人自感羞愧——如何去呈现真实、而不是盲目地相信所谓真善美,才恰恰是这个时代最需要的。 Click here to read more »

严歌苓初见美国丈夫:夫劳伦斯竟操东北方言问好

来源:辽沈晚报

作者:小钢

严歌苓的异国恋情传奇

“我曾在很多城市生活过,最喜欢的还是柏林。”曾经的几次愉快采访,让记者与华裔著名女作家严歌苓成了好友,并曾约定有机会到她的柏林家中做客。本届柏林国际电影节期间,这个约定终得实现。在严歌苓的家中,记者不仅吃到了她制作的德式甜点和美味锅贴儿,还见证了她与外交官丈夫劳伦斯以及女儿妍妍的幸福生活。 Click here to read more »

Chan Koonchung “Il ne dépend pas de moi d’être dissident ou non… “

Idéesmag

CKCIdees

A Novelist Appraises China, Then and Now

By Duncan Jepson

How far must a person be pushed before they reject their established way of life?

All te Flowers in Shanghai

I wrote All the Flowers in Shanghai — published by William Morrow this month — as an attempt to describe a life which is initially guided by tradition and unthinking personal sacrifice, utterly devoid of any western-style presumption of individual entitlement to self-determination and fair treatment. The story begins in the 1930s, an era when, for the first time, Chinese women started to question the subordinate status in which they had been kept for hundreds of generations, by a system of male domination often unthinkingly reinforced by women themselves. Concepts such as female sexuality, individuality and self-worth were unknown; femininity was defined as much by tradition as by chauvinism.

Shanghai during the late 1930s was the place where China and the Chinese experimented, and struggled, with the potency of western culture. A lucky few danced cheek-to-cheek to the startling sounds of imported jazz; European-style architecture and western dress were adopted by the rich, while around them the vast majority existed in unalleviated poverty. For a few years the city sparkled under this influx of new ideas – only to be ground down, first by the Japanese occupation and then, after a brief respite, the Communist Revolution, which sought to erase any previous influences and start again. The central character and narrator of the book, Feng, flourishes as Shanghai flourishes, and suffers as the city suffers. As a girl she follows tradition and does as she is told, willingly subordinating her own desires to her parents’ wishes and entering into an arranged marriage that will painfully circumscribe her life.

As her emotional self-awareness develops through adversity, Feng starts to question the things she has previously accepted unthinkingly. At the same time, in the world beyond the closed gates of the great house where she now lives, China is questioning her own traditions, her own future course. When Feng turns her back both on tradition and, arguably, a woman’s natural role, a huge emptiness yawns before her that in the west she would brave using reason and self-determination. Instead Feng must rely purely on her emotions, which she instinctually and immediately suppresses because they run counter to everything she has been taught to hold dear.

What was important to me was to understand how far a person must be pushed before they reject their established way of life. What momentous event must occur before someone turns their back on all the traditions that have nurtured and guided them to date, the only things they really know. And what the effect on them is of realizing that so much they once valued has now been lost to them for ever. Feng is pushed to a place where tradition can no longer provide her with a raison d’être and so her reaction, which can be frustrating to westerners who don’t understand its counter-intuitive nature, is extreme. But the essence of her story is that of the abused becoming the abuser — something that is surely instantly recognizable within any culture, from the lessons of history as well as from today’s front-page news.

Apart from my brother and cousins, I didn’t meet another Eurasian until I was seventeen. In Hong Kong I now see them in prams and pushchairs by the dozen, being wheeled around the shopping malls in Central. During my seventies childhood, I grew up in Yorkshire, in the UK, where the Far East, as it was then known, was considered distant and undeveloped, and China as opaque, backward and unfathomable. The world of this latest generation of Eurasians and Asian Americans is small and crowded. The differences between the cultures are now evident from uncomfortably close quarters; tensions exist in everything from trade deficits to film distribution to mining rights. I look at today’s children and wonder whether they will have the same experiences I have had in trying to negotiate a balance within themselves of the strengths and flaws of each of these two very different approaches to human existence.

As a trainee solicitor, I remember a mainland lawyer telling me that classical Chinese philosophy views the law as the process of  moving from chaos to harmony, whereas the western concept of law is that of creating order from chaos. In my novel I wanted to tell a story that would leave the western reader with an impression of a life lived by different rules, where the central character does not follow western logic. Feng’s life is directed by tradition and when, in the face of profound emotions, tradition fails her and vital questions are left unanswered, there is nothing left for her but confusion and frustration. Whereas in the west, reason tends to take precedence over tradition, and it can seem incomprehensible that anyone should ever allow themselves to be constrained by ancient rules.

Duncan Jepson was a founder and is currently Managing Editor of the Asia Literary Review. He is a lawyer and filmmaker.

http://publishingperspectives.com/2012/01/a-novelist-appraises-china-then-and-now/

 

The story behind Chinese war epic The Flowers of War

The Chinese epic The Flowers of War failed to gain a highly-coveted Oscar nomination in the Best Foreign Language Film category. But as Bethan Jinkinson reports, the historical drama has resonated with Chinese audiences.

Flowers of War cover Click here to read more »