104 article(s) translated from Chinese

“The Fair-haired Princess” and Serious Literature

Father’s bookshelves were lined mostly with Marxist-Leninist books. I remember the titles on some of the spines. I can’t remember some others, because the words were too abstract. I loitered…...

from “Last Words from Montmartre”

Letter Ten May 11 Dearest Yong, My sister sent me the two CDs that I wanted. She sent them on May 7. The courier rang the doorbell and handed them to me this morning, and I immediately rushed over to my…...

Word

In the morning, a word from someone else's dream peeks at me like a conspiracy. The minute I open my eyes the word, with an elegant gesture, takes me. The lonely word is a terminal patient: pain and…...

One Bird and Another

Once upon a time we used to talk about a bird— a bird from nowhere brought us levity   and laughter. One winter night—yes it was a winter night—a bird came to us while we were soundly…...

A Grapefruit

I'm holding a big round golden grapefruit that smells bitter. A small knife can cut through what seems to be a thick skin— I begin to shiver in quiet pain. A life without pain is an unpicked…...

The Old Cicada

A heat wave rolled into the city, and reports of elderly heatstroke victims streamed in continually. Sirens wailed, and pet dogs lay panting in the shade It was much better in the suburbs, where tall poplars…...

My Shadow Library: A Chinese Author on Book Piracy

After Mo Yan won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2012, publishers around the world rushed to print copies of his books—none more enthusiastically than China’s infamous book pirates. In China,…...

Free!

“I’m free!” Scarlet shouted, waving a letter at me. She was down in the street, holding onto her rolled-up pant legs, knee-deep in floodwater. From where I stood on the balcony, I could…...

Very Cheesy and Also Rather Blah

carefully giving it some thought the lines on my palm[1] have deflected for you some now I suppose my dirty beard, my fiendish leg hair will graduate in time that someone of my years should care about…...

The Shades who Periscope Through Flowers to the Sky

1. Heavenly Body Rocky Wang was sitting in Tianxiang Park. The flagstones were cool, and pale in the moonlight. The couple starting kissing. (This was before it happened.) Rocky put his hand in the front…...

Awakening the Individual Consciousness

This essay is part of “What Kind of China do We Want?,” a project of the Foreign Policy Initiative to inform the American public about the ideas and goals of China’s intellectuals, activists…...

This Country Must Break Apart

Exiled writer Liao Yiwu was awarded the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade on October 14, 2012. In its citation, the German Publishers and Booksellers Association praised Liao Yiwu as "a Chinese author…...

from “Black Rock”

Writer Yang Xianhui traveled around China interviewing survivors of the great famine of 1959.  He circumvented government censorship by adding details and presenting the results as fiction. In this…...

An Interview with Yan Lianke

At Thinkers Café, a dimly lit café near Peking University, Yan Lianke chooses a side table with a desk lamp that flickers on and off as we speak. The outspoken author and ex-military man…...

The Man with the Knife

He lay back on the sofa, tipsy. She had invited him out for a meal and now they were back at her flat. He was a renowned poetry critic with a successful career. She was just an aspiring poet. He had agreed…...

from “Memories of the Cowshed”

Memories of the Cowshed is one of China’s top bestsellers on the Cultural Revolution. Ji Xianlin’s 1998 memoir recounts the painful and deeply disenchanting period he spent in the “cowshed,”…...

Death Fugue

Sheng Keyi’s Death Fugue, which takes its title from the famous poem by Paul Celan, is an absurdist allegorical tale about freedom and shackles, rebellion and dictatorship. The protagonist, Yuan…...

Last of the Aristocrats

Zhang Yihe is a prominent Peking Opera scholar who was imprisoned during the Cultural Revolution for writing about Jiang Qing, or Madame Mao, in her diary. She has written numerous works of nonfiction…...

An Interview with Chan Koon-chung

Chan Koon-chung’s gray, shoulder-length hair is a throwback to the seventies, when Chan founded an influential cultural and alternative lifestyle magazine, City Magazine. Chan has since made a point…...

Throwing Out the Baby

The frog was leaping away but we were closing in on both sides, running along bent over, our eyes fixed on its yellow-green back, the mud  squishing under our feet. There had just been a cloudburst…...

The Festival of Ghosts

-1- Just as it was about time for the Festival of the Ghosts, Mother drew my two sisters and me to her. A worried look on her face, she said, “I’m afraid I won’t live much longer.”…...

About the Young Writer Zheng Xialou

Zheng Xiaolu, editor of a literary magazine, is only twenty-five years old. He was probably twenty-two when he wrote this story. Last year, he and another editor visited me to discuss how I arrange for…...

A Beethoven Chronology

On a certain day in a certain month of the Enlightenment clear skies      light winds out of the southwest high in the low 70s Beethoven is born in a bed on a certain day in a…...

Your Dog

a dog lives it’s your shadow it learns about life learns to go to toilets learns to run forward with a lighter in its mouth once you take out a cigarette not only does it run forward with a lighter…...

Soul

We had a visitation from a woman who’d been dead for many years we felt her presence but see her we could not heard her voice instructing us to turn the hand-crank of the projector in the room (there’s…...