This morning I was taking a peek at Danwei and I stumbling across this link to the Daily Telegraph newspaper (UK) website. It’s a pretty good rundown of some of the popular Chinese authors right now. I’ve read Jung Chang’s Mao biography, almost everything by Ma Jian as well as both of Wei Hui’s novels (but if she writes anything else I don’t know if I’ll pick it up). If you asked me to recommend two of of the authors in the article I’d have say Ma Jian and Qiu Xiaolong. If you want vacation or airplane reading definitely checkout those two. I’m really interested in reading Yan Lianke’s Serve the People It sounds interesting without being too dark or introspective.
For a view on the problems of translation, read this interview with translator Howard Goldblatt in Full Tilt. I sympathize with Goldblatt’s view that Chinese people see authors as authoritative figures in society. I think that writers can have a lot of significant things to say but if you don’t question what they write you end up cutting off debate and destroying the freedom to create, which eventually leads to really bad and really boring writing. No wonder hardly any Chinese read any more.