Mo Yan

Chinese novelist and screenwriter

Guan Moye (simplified Chinese: 管谟业), better known by the pen name Mo Yan (/moʊ jɛn/, Chinese: 莫言), born 17 February 1955, is a Chinese novelist and short story writer. Donald Morrison of U.S. news magazine TIME referred to him as "one of the most famous, oft-banned and widely pirated of all Chinese writers", and Jim Leach called him the Chinese answer to Franz Kafka or Joseph Heller. In 2012 he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature.

Mo Yan in 2008

Quotes edit

Red Sorghum: A Novel of China (1986/1987) edit

  • Finally, she mused that human existence is as brief as the life of autumn grass, so what was there to fear from taking chances with your life?
  • I sometimes think that there is a link between the decline in humanity and the increase in prosperity and comfort. Property and comfort are what people seek, but the costs to character are often terrifying.
  • Over decades that seem but a moment in time, lines of scarlet figures shuttled among the sorghum stalks to weave a vast human tapestry. They killed, they looted, and they defended their country in a valiant, stirring ballet that makes us unfilial descendants who now occupy the land pale by comparison.

The Republic of Wine (1992) edit

  • A writer should always bravely face life, risking death and mutilation in order to dethrone an emperor.
  • “Am I drunk?" he asked Crewcut. "You're not drunk, Boss," Crewcut replied. "How could a superior individual like you be drunk? People around here who get drunk are the dregs of society, illiterates, uncouth people. Highbrow folks, those of the 'spring snow,' cannot get drunk. You're a highbrow, therefore you cannot be drunk.”
    • Chapter I, Section 1
  • A tidal wave of trucks and carts moved slowly, inexorably toward the now open gate, bumping and clanging into each other as they squeezed through. The investigator jumped out of the way, and as he stood there observing the passage of this hideous insect, with its countless twisting, shifting sections, he experienced a strange and powerful rage. The birth of that rage was followed by spasms down and around his anus, where irritated blood vessels began to leap painfully, and he knew he was in for a hemorrhoid attack. This time the investigation would go forward, hemorrhoids or no, just like the old days. That thought took the edge off his rage, lessened it considerably, in fact. There's no avoiding the inevitable. Not mass confusion, not hemorrhoids. Only the sacred key to a riddle is eternal. But what was it this time?
    • Chapter I, Section 1
  • Ding Gou’er was born in 1941 and married in 1965. It was garden variety marriage, with husband and wife getting along well enough, and producing one child, a darling little boy. He had a mistress who was sometimes adorable and sometimes downright spooky. Sometimes she was like the sun, at other times he moon. Sometimes she was a seductive feline, at other times a mad dog. The idea of divorcing his wife appealed to him, but not enough to actually go through with it. Staying with his mistress was tempting, but not enough to actually do it. Anytime he took sick, he fantasized the onset of cancer, yet was terrified by the thought of the disease; he loved life dearly, and was tired to death of it. He had trouble being decisive. He often stuck the muzzle of his pistol against his temple, then brought it back down; another frequent site of this game was his chest, specifically the area over his heart. One thing and one thing only pleased him without exception or diminution: investigating and solving criminal cases.
    • Chapter I, Section 1
  • For a writer, talent is everything. Lots of people make a career out of writing, producing many works and knowing exactly what it takes to become a great writer. But they never break into the big time, because they lack one thing: talent, or a sufficient amount of it.
    • Chapter Four, Section 3
  • The relationship between man and liquor embodies virtually all contradictions involved in the process of human existence and development.
    • Chapter Four, Section 3
  • Liquor infatuates me until I am in capable of following rules and regulations. Liquor's character is wild and unrestrained; its temperament is to talk without thinking.
    • Chapter Four, Section IV, Donkey Avenue
  • The fundamental principle of literature is to create something out of nothing and to make up stories. My creation has not been altogether fashioned out of nothing, and is not entirely made up.
    • Chapter Four, Section V
  • What we are pursuing is beauty, nothing but beauty. It's not true beauty if we didn't create it. Creating beauty with beauty is not true beauty either; real beauty is achieved by transforming the ugly into the beautiful.
    • Chapter Four, Section V
  • Bullshit bullshit bullshit... after a string of 'bullshit', he spat out spitefully, Can the cliches! That might work with most people, but not with me. Millions of people all around the world have suffered and been mistreated, but those who become men among men are as rare as phoenix feathers and unicorn horns. It's all a matter of fate, it's in your bones. If you're born with the bones of a beggar, that's what you'll spend you life as.
    • Chapter Five, Section IV, 'Yichi the Hero'
  • As he lat in the relative comfort of a hard-sleeeper cot - relative to a hard-seater, that is - the puffy, balding, beady-eyed, twisted mouth, middle-aged writer Mo Yan wasn't sleepy at all. The overhead lights went out as the train carried him into the night leaving only the dim yellow glare of the floor lights to see by. I know there are many similarities between me and this Mo Yan, but many contradictions as well. I'm a hermit crab, and Mo Yan is the shell I'm occupying. Mo Yan is the rain gear that protects me from storms, a dog hide to ward off the chilled winds, a mask I wear to seduce girls from good families. There are times when I feel that this Mo Yan is a heavy burden, but I can't seem to cast it off, just as a hermit crab cannot rid itself of its shell.
    • Chapter 10, Section 2
  • Unique descriptions of scene play a significant role in the success of fiction, and any first-rate novelists knows enough to keep changing the scenes in which his characters carry out action, since that no only conceals the novelist's shortcomings, but also heightens the reader's enthuisiasm in the reading process
    • Chapter 10, Section 2

Big Breasts and Wide Hips (1996) edit

  • Where there's life, death is inevitable. Dying's easy; it's living that's hard. The harder it gets, the stronger the will to live. And the greater the fear of death, the greater the struggle to keep on living.
  • Are women really wonderful things? Maybe they are. Yes, women are wonderful things, but when all is said and done, they aren't really “things".

External links edit

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