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Saturday, October 11, 2014

Sheng Keyi

Sheng Keyi
(Words Without Borders)
no copyright infringement intended

in 1989 (she was a teenager by then), in her native village all that was known about the military crackdown in Tiananmen Square was the reverse story: the students had been violent thugs period; that was the official propaganda; the village was still lush with lotus plants, and a crystalline river sparkled in the fields (a great description I found in a NY Times biographical note, reminding me the universe of Andersen); today Sheng Keyi is a prominent author and her Death Fugue (taking its title from Paul Celan's poem) tackles the Tiananmen subject in a fascinating way, turning it into an exuberant dystopia (it was published in Hong Kong, Taiwan and New Zealand, but in mainland China); her village meanwhile became what so many villages meanwhile became; a strange, alien, place with the river polluted by the new factory built nearby, and the lotus plants smelling the factory's smells: le pour et le contre inseparable twins as always - poverty and poetic beauty - modernization and loss of any true sense in living one's life.

(A Life in Books)



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