China en NYT
Con absoluto placer, el administrador de "The Literary Saloon" comenta el hecho de que el suplemento de libros de New York Times le haya dedicado tanto espacio en su último número a las traducciones de autores chinos. Aparece una reseña a Serve the people! de Yan Lianke. También un texto sobre The song of everlasting sorrow de Wang Anyi. Otro libro reseñado es Wolf Totem de Jiang Rong, ganador del Man Asian Literary Prize. También hay un artículo dedicado a un autor de 24 años, Guo Jingming, la sensación "pop" del momento. Pero la nota principal está dedicada al exitoso Mo Yan y su novela 'Life and Death Are Wearing Me Out'. Dice la reseña:
In the summer of 1976, as Chairman Mao lay on his deathbed in Beijing, the pigs at the Ximen Village Production Brigade Apricot Garden Pig Farm in Gaomi County, Shandong Province, also began to die. The first batch of five were found with “their skin dotted with purple splotches the size of bronze coins, their eyes open, as if they’d died with unresolved grievances.” The commune vet declared they had succumbed to “what we call the Red Death” and ordered them to be cremated and buried immediately. But it had been raining for weeks and the ground was too waterlogged. Dousing the carcasses with kerosene and trying to set them alight simply filled the farm with vile-smelling smoke. Soon 800 more pigs were infected. A fresh team of vets arrived by motorboat with more sophisticated medicines, but their ministrations were of little help. Dead pigs were piled up throughout the farm, their bloated forms expanding and exploding in the heat. Unable to bury the corpses, the farmers “had no choice but to wait until the veterinarians left and, in the fading light of dusk, load the carcasses onto a flatbed wagon and haul them down to the river, where they were tossed into the water to float downstream — out of sight and out of mind.” The farm was in ruins, proof that its “glorious days” were “now a thing of the past.” The foundations of the hog houses collapsed, and raging flood waters toppled the utility poles, cutting the commune off from the wider world. Thus it was only through the village’s single transistor radio that these farmers learned Mao had died. “How could Chairman Mao be dead? Doesn’t everyone say that he could live at least 158 years?” Mo Yan’s powerful new novel, “Life and Death Are Wearing Me Out,” contains many such vivid set pieces. His canvas covers almost the entire span of his country’s revolutionary experience — from 1950 until 2000, in the so-called “reform era” of post-Deng Xiaoping China. At one level, therefore, “Life and Death” is a kind of documentary, carrying the reader across time from the land reform at the end of the Chinese Civil War, through the establishment of mutual-aid teams and lower-level cooperatives in the early and mid-1950s, into the extreme years of the Great Leap Forward and the famine of the late ’50s and early ’60s, and on to the steady erosion of the collective economy in the new era of largely unregulated “capitalism with socialist characteristics.” At the novel’s close, some of the characters are driving BMWs, while others are dyeing their hair blond and wearing gold rings in their noses.
El final de la reseña es interesante, pues intenta unir los lazos en comùn (y las diferencias) entre la novela de Mo Yan y otras novelas chinas contemporáneas analizadas en este número. Dice:
The kind of critique that we find in this book has many echoes within China today. In his new novel, “Wolf Totem,” Jiang Rong includes a ferocious account of the battle between a starving wolf pack and a herd of wild horses that seems tightly geared to showing the value of older ways of living in the steppe, in contrast with the ultimately disastrous values insisted on by the Party. Mo Yan has his own version of such a battle in his account of the donkeys’ struggle against the wolves near the collective farm. Yan Lianke’s “Serve the People!” gives a common soldier and his mistress, the wife of the division commander, a summer of passionate lovemaking, culminating in a wild and randy spree in which they smash all the once-treasured artifacts and memorabilia of Mao Zedong and his outmoded, pointless policies. Such antipolitical passion also surfaces in many of the sexual entanglements Mo Yan describes in “Life and Death Are Wearing Me Out.” It seems that novels in China are coming into their own, that new freedoms of expression are being claimed by their authors. Mao has become a handy villain. One wonders how much longer his successors will be immune from similar treatment.