Nonfiction — 3 Min Read

China in ten words – Yu Hua

Nonfiction — 3 Min Read

China in ten words – Yu Hua

China. People. The Cultural Revolution. Leader. The Cultural Revolution. Reading. Mao Ze Dung. Written. Lu Xun. The Cultural Revolution. Gaps. Revolution. The grassroots. Imitations. Bluff.

How can you summarize a country’s half-century history in 300 pages?

How can you capture the ruin, anxieties, and struggles of a people in the mirage of utopian political ideologies?

A country trapped between traditions, communism, and capitalism.

A country where dissent is paid expensively.

A country where the Great Leap Forward destroyed the organic fabric of relationships and resulted in a failure that killed more than 30 million people.

“When I think today how it was before, I’m experiencing all sorts of feelings. The thirty years since more than three hundred people sat in line at the library’s door in the city to get card coupons and the sale of a ten-yuan classical book tie to the Ditan Fair seemed to have been one night. This is the moment when I left on the real journey of reading literary works; the journey began that morning in the bookstore in 1977, and of course it did not end in the cries of Ditan Park booksellers.”

-quoted from China in ten words, by Yu Hua

Nation.Leader. Reading. Written. Lu Xun. Gap. Revolution. The grassroots. Imitation. Bluff.

Yu Hua manages to answer these questions with these ten words. An exercise which few manage to achieve. Through this book, Yu Hua finds the soul of a country. He succeeds in casting a critical look beyond propaganda, ideologies, and reaching the pits that ultimately make history-the common people.

China in ten words has a few colours. Grey tones track you on every page: whether they are discussing Mao’s Revolution, the contemporary economic boom, or Western influence on China.

Yu Hua’s writing is simple, sincere, comical and tragic at the same time. The ten essays are somewhere between journalism and memoirs. It is approaching the New Journalism style of the 1970s, with Joan Didion, Tom Wolfe, Truman Capote, and Norman Mailer as the main exponents of the genre.

“I finally understood what the “people” meant. I think that writing can help man to remain mentally healthy and to complete his life. In other words, writing makes a man have two paths in his life – one real and another virtual – and the relationship between the two is that of health and sickness – when one becomes too strong, the other begins to decay. As my real life becomes more and more monotonous, the other life becomes richer.”

-quoted from China in ten words, by Yu Hua