Yan Lianke’s Forbidden Satires of China – How an Army propaganda writer became the country’s most controversial novelist.
by Jiayang Fan @NewYorker
閻連科是中國著名小說家，雖然是軍隊宣傳機器出身，但閻連科藉由小說對中國的諷刺卻十分尖銳，以至於他的作品在 2016 年起就被中國非正式地列爲禁書。<紐約客> (New Yorker) 這篇對閻連科的專題讓讀者能夠直接理解閻連科的心路歷程、他對中國文化現狀的看法等，讓讀者更能理解作家創作背後的動機和環境。
One of the best articles I've read about modern China. https://t.co/LuQlB7TMPZ
— Chris Horton 何貴森 (@heguisen) October 15, 2018
Yan’s style is experimental and surreal, and he is credited with developing a strain of absurdism that he terms “mythorealism.” As he puts it, “The reality of China is so outrageous that it defies belief and renders realism inert.”
In China, you keep your principles elastic; a favorite proverb of Yan’s is “It’s best to live life with one eye open and the other closed.”
本文用了一些篇幅討論閻連科的母親 —— 被閻連科自己形容爲 “最傳統的農村女性”，其中一個衍生出的話題就是中國人對所謂 “佔便宜” 的執着：
For the Chinese, Yan said, the feeling of coming out ahead produces a “skewed, misbegotten joy” that has become his mother’s most intense pleasure.
The ethic of zhan pianyi dictated that Yan must be trying to lowball him and that he’d be crazy to sell without having discovered what made an uninhabitable mud hut so desirable. The Cultural Revolution had robbed an entire generation of the concept of sentimental value.
The spiralling overvaluation of the site had ended up destroying what little value there was.
2006 年的 <丁莊夢> 講述了在 1990 年代末河南 AIDS 蔓延危機，讓他被逐出軍隊:
The novel is a nightmare of profit-seeking rapacity: once the blood business starts to fail, because so many are dead, the village bloodhead diversifies into selling caskets.
共產黨全面滲透人民生活的副作用 —— 個人意識的萎縮、無法保有獨立的道德觀：
He surmised that Communism, by controlling every aspect of people’s lives, had infantilized generations of Chinese: “People’s sense of themselves as individuals atrophied, so much so that they lost commonsense ideas of how to behave ethically without strict parameters.”
Yan shook his head and responded that it was beginning to remind him of the Cultural Revolution.
…Yan explained that, particularly since the removal of Presidential term limits, last year, he had sensed a gradual backsliding, especially when it came to issues of free speech.
“Every year, when the Nobel Prize in Literature is announced, someone is sent to my home to babysit me in case I’m bombarded by international press and say something untoward,” Yan said. “The worst part is that they make a point of sending my best friend. But of course it’s a smart move: no one to better police you than the people you are closest to.”
What is absent in Chinese civilization, what we’ve always lacked, is a sense of the sacred. There is no room for higher principles when we live so firmly in the concrete. The possibility of hope and the aspiration to higher ideals are too abstract and therefore get obliterated in our dark, fierce realism.”
Is there a more ferociously alive spectacle than that of beings clawing themselves out of their circumstances? It was, Yan said, as we turned to leave, “a fleeting life memorialized in its final reckoning—the refusal to submit to fate.”