China’s first Nobel Literature laureate

22 Nov

The first Chinese Nobel Literature Prize winner was not Mo Yan, but Gao Xingjian, back in 2000. Because he left China in the late 80s to seek asylum in France, the government doesn’t acknowledge his victory but it doesn’t change the scope of his achievement. He is widely known in Hong Kong and Taiwan, and still presumably has fans and admirers on the mainland. He’s still a very busy man, judging from the BBC interview in the first link. He has written novels, short stories, and plays, and even paints. His two most well-known novels, both based on events in his life, are Soul Mountain and One Man’s Bible. I read both -the former is about his travels through Southwestern China’s Sichuan after a false diagnosis of cancer coupled with threats from authorities to jail him over his work, but it was a little too abstract and mystical for me. I preferred the latter one which was about the Cultural Revolution and was more realistic and gritty.

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