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Chinese Characters

May 2004

In tones ranging from high to low and dark to light, the literature of China is as suggestive, as simple, and as complex as the language with which it is written. Anyone tired of linear American plots can find refreshment in the riverine twists and turns of Yu Hua’s “Timid as a Mouse” and Li Xiao’s “Appointment in K City.” Zhang Wei’s prizewinning September’s Fable depicts village life from a mole’s-eye view. Gao Ertai’s exceptional memoir features a hunting party in the mountains during the Cultural Revolution.  Pu Song-ling’s fables add a mysterious dimension. In a rare hip moment, WWB features an essay on the Bob Dylan of contemporary China, the rock star Cui Jian, with a link to his superb music video.