Mo Yan’s Delicate Balancing Act

Sabina Knight writes, in this review, of author Mo Yan’s receipt of a Nobel Prize and the controversy that arisen due this event. Here is a sample:

Mo Yan won the Nobel Prize for his writing, not for political engagement. This essay thus offers a perspective on his politics based not on a few symbolic acts but on a close reading of his literary works. “For a writer,” Mo said in accepting his prize, “the best way to speak is by writing. You will find everything I need to say in my works.” These works offer keen insights into truth telling, the role of the writer, history’s horrors, destiny and human will. They also reflect Mo’s uses of tradition and modernism, his portrayals of sensuality, aggression and violence, and his views on individual conscience. Thanks to the herculean efforts of master translator Howard Goldblatt (whose translations I quote below), English-language readers can appreciate Mo’s powerful fiction.

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