In 2011 Cambria Press published the most comprehensive exposition of Mo Yan’s fiction in any language. In A Subversive Voice in China: The Fictional World of Mo Yan, Professor Shelley Chan (Wittenberg University) delves into Mo Yan’s entire collection of literary works, considering his novels as well as short stories and novellas.
The book has been praised by Professor Howard Goldblatt (a top Asian studies scholar who has dedicated years to introduce most of Mo Yan’s works to the English-speaking world.). Professor Goldblatt stated that he “recommend[s] this first full-length study in English to anyone who wants the perfect complement to their reading of Mo Yan’s novels.”
A Subversive Voice in China: The Fictional World of Mo Yan is part of the Culture, Literature, & Religion in Greater China Book Series that was originally headed by Professors Jianmei Liu and Ann Huss. The series has since evolved and is now known as the Cambria Sinophone World Series to herald its new leadership and vision. Professors Liu and Huss are on the editorial board. The general editor of the series is Professor Victor H. Mair. See Professor Mair’s post on Mo Yan at the Language Log.
The following is a Q&A session with Professor Chan.
QUESTION: Are you surprised that Mo Yan won the Nobel Prize in literature?
ANSWER: I am not surprised at all because I always believed that Mo Yan is a great writer who deserves the Nobel Prize. I am very happy for him and very proud of him.
QUESTION: Why did you decide to write this book?
ANSWER: I decided to write A Subversive Voice in China: The Fictional World of Mo Yan because Mo Yan is one of the most important and prolific contemporary Chinese writers to emerge in the post-Mao era. He is very experimental and the experiments make his books / stories very rich and complex. Many of Mo Yan’s stories serve as cultural, social, or political commentaries. His sarcasm strongly reminds the reader of Lu Xun, who was known for his relentless attacks on tradition as well as on discontented modern society. In this respect Mo Yan returns to the May Fourth literary spirit.
QUESTION: What do you hope your readers take away from your book?
ANSWER: I hope that readers will be able to appreciate the richness, the complexity, and the unique and sophisticated writing skills of this Chinese writer after reading my book. For example, how Mo Yan’s works inherit and continue the May Fourth literary spirits represented by Lu Xun; how the writer serves as a spokesman for his countrymen; how his attitude on history changes during his writing profession; how uniquely he uses Chinese language, and what a new reading experience he brings to his readers.
QUESTION: What other research do you believe is needed on this topic?
RESPONSE: My book is a study of Mo Yan’s works, but it is, by no means, an exhaustive study. In fact, no single book will be able to accomplish this task. This has to be a collective effort. Therefore, more studies on Mo Yan are needed. Special attention should be paid to his use of language (e.g., the increasing playfulness in his recent works). I believe that Mo Yan will continue to be a prolific writer and that more studies on his works will be needed.
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Recommend this book to your library! Librarians can order the book directly from Cambria Press or they can order through their preferred academic book wholesaler (Cambria Press is on the approval list of premier wholesalers like YBP).
Be sure to check out the Cambria Press Desk Copy Plus Program for course adoptions whereby professors receive a freehardcover and students get freee-book access of the title when the library purchases the Platinum E-book edition!