Yu Hua's latest novel has attracted criticism since its release, but the author defends his work about lost spirits, claiming it deals with the realities of the modern world. Han Bingbin reports.
Author Yu Hua's latest novel The Seventh Day has attracted criticism since its release in June. Many readers have declared it Yu's worst novel, eight years after they claimed one of Yu's most influential works, Brothers, was the worst of its genre. But the author has defended his latest book, calling it his "closest contact with reality". He has also dubbed it "the most representative" of his overall writing style. Yu says the book is a manifestation of all the elements ever featured in his fiction from the 1980s to today.
Author Yu Hua is prepared for criticism of his latest novel The Seventh Day and says he will not look at the reviews until the comments become rational.
Author Yu Hua is prepared for criticism of his latest novel The Seventh Day and says he will not look at reviews until the comments become rational. [Provided to China Daily]
The Seventh Day, an absurdist work inspired by Genesis, is a tale of many deaths. The narrative revolves around different spirits' experiences and memories in the first seven days after their death, caused by the type of events which have recently aroused controversy in China.
A couple are killed when a house is forcibly demolished. Unsettled spirits from an accidental fire wander around confused. Their deaths have been covered up by the government and their bodies kept away from their families.
Beijing News critic Zhang Dinghao wrote that compared with Brothers, which dealt with a changing society over the course of decades, Yu's latest retelling of recent and widely known social events offers no more insight than reposting a comment on micro blog weibo.
Not to mention the language is outmoded and plain, Zhang adds.
"People can hardly believe it's the result of seven years of work. It's more like Internet fast food, rushed in a couple of days," Zhang writes.
Zhang, like many others, deems Yu's latest work an example of readership positioning the author is trying to appeal to foreigners, given his growing influence overseas after publishing books in more than 20 countries.
Translation will cover and may even improve the rough language that Chinese readers may find uninspiring, Zhang notes, and the social events local readers may find dated will "put on a super-realistic magic coat" overseas.