I have very fond memories of celebrating Chinese New Year back in Singapore. My Chinese classmates would invite me to their homes to celebrate with their families. We’d feast on Chinese almond cookies, sesame seed balls and egg tarts (me loves this so much). Their parents would even give me hóngbāo (red packets) while I give my thanks in Mandarin, much to their amusement. My classmates taught me how to make Ang Pow lanterns when I was there. I’d go to the local craft store and buy me a pack or two of red packets and I’d make these decors for our home. Watching lion dancers were a treat too. Oh, if you happen to be in Singapore during the Chinese New Year celebrations, here’s a sneak peek of the decorations in Chinatown.
As Chinese New Year nears (It will be celebrated on January 31, 2014), here are some books written by Chinese writers.
Bi Feiyu won the Man Asian Literary Prize in 2010 for his novel Three Sisters. The Moon Opera is another book written by him. “His works are known for their complex portrayal of the “female psyche”. [Source].
Three Sisters – In a small village in China, the Wang family has produced seven sisters in its quest to have a boy; three of the sisters emerge as the lead characters in this remarkable novel. From the small-town treachery of the village to the slogans of the Cultural Revolution to the harried pace of city life, Bi Feiyu follows the women as they strive to change the course of their destinies and battle against an “infinite ocean of people” in a China that does not truly belong to them. Yumi will use her dignity, Yuxiu her powers of seduction, and Yuyang her ambition—all in an effort to take control of their world, their bodies, and their lives. (from Goodreads)
The Moon Opera – The debut novel of one of China s rising young literary talents a gem of a book that takes a piercing look into the world of Chinese opera and its female stars. In a fit of diva jealousy, Xiao Yanqiu, star of The Moon Opera, disfigures her understudy with boiling water. Spurned by the troupe, she turns to teaching. Twenty years later, a rich cigarette-factory boss offers to underwrite a restaging of the cursed opera, but only on the condition that Xiao Yanqiu return to the role of Chang e. So she does, this time believing she has fully become the immortal moon goddess. Set against the drama, intrigue, jealousy, retribution, and redemption of backstage Peking opera, The Moon Opera is a stunning portrait of women in a world that simultaneously reveres and restricts them. Bi Feiyu, one of China s young literary stars, re-creates all the temptations and triumphs of the stage the world over in this gem of a novel. (from Goodreads)
Rickshaw Boy is a novel written by Lao She (pen name of Shu Qingchun).
Rickshaw Boy – First published in China in 1937, Rickshaw Boy is the story of Xiangzi, an honest and serious country boy who works as a rickshaw puller in Beijing. A man of simple needs whose greatest ambition is to one day own his own rickshaw, Xiangzi is nonetheless thwarted, time and again, in his attempts to improve his lot in life.
Mo Yan is the winner of the 2012 Nobel Prize in Literature. He is known for his novel Red Sorghum. His latest work is ‘Pow!’.
Red Sorghum – Spanning three generations, this novel of family and myth is told through a series of flashbacks that depict events of staggering horror set against a landscape of gemlike beauty, as the Chinese battle both Japanese invaders and each other in the turbulent 1930s. A legend in China, where it won major literary awards and inspired an Oscar-nominated film directed by Zhang Yimou, Red Sorghum is a book in which fable and history collide to produce fiction that is entirely new—and unforgettable. (from Goodreads)
Pow! – In this novel by the 2012 Nobel Laureate in Literature, a benign old monk listens to a prospective novice’s tale of depravity, violence, and carnivorous excess while a nice little family drama—in which nearly everyone dies—unfurls. But in this tale of sharp hatchets, bad water, and a rusty WWII mortar, we can’t help but laugh. Reminiscent of the novels of dark masters of European absurdism like Günter Grass, Witold Gombrowicz, or Jakov Lind, Mo Yan’s Pow! is a comic masterpiece. (from Barnes and Noble page)
Sandalwood Death – This powerful novel by Mo Yan—one of contemporary China’s most famous and prolific writers—is both a stirring love story and an unsparing critique of political corruption during the final years of the Qing Dynasty, China’s last imperial epoch. (from Goodreads)
Anchee Min is known for her memoirs Red Azalea and The Cooked Seed. She is a Chinese-American author born in Shanghai.
Red Azalea – Anchee Min’s celebrated memoir of growing up in the last years of Mao’s China. As a child, she was asked to publicly humiliate a teacher; at seventeen, she was sent to work at a labor collective. Forbidden to speak, dress, read, write, or love as she pleased, she found a lifeline in a secret love affair with another woman. Miraculously selected for the film version of one of Madame Mao’s political operas, Min’s life changed overnight. Then Chairman Mao suddenly died, taking with him an entire world. A revelatory and disturbing portrait of China, Anchee Min’s memoir is exceptional for its candor, its poignancy, its courage, and for its prose which Newsweek calls “as delicate and evocative as a traditional Chinese brush painting. (from Goodreads)
Have you read any of these books?
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