Posted by Joel Martinsen on Tuesday, March 15, 2011 at 5:19 PM
Following Zhang Yueran’s NEWriting (鲤), Han Han’s defunct Party (独唱团), and Di An’s ZUI Found (文艺风赏), Annie Baobei becomes the latest popular novelist to launch her own literary magazine.
The inaugural issue of O-pen (大方) makes a splash by featuring a pair of literary giants.
The first half of the magazine is devoted to a lengthy interview with Haruki Murakami. The interview, conducted over the course of three days in May 2010 by Matsuie Masashi, first appeared in the Summer 2010 issue of Kangaeru Hito (考える人, “The Thinker”). The O-pen version is translated by Zhang Lefeng.
Accompanying the interview is a 1Q84-inspired trip through Tokyo courtesy of Peggy Kuo (郭正佩), the author of a book of photo-essays about the Tokyo locations featured in Murakami’s fiction.
One of the issue’s other highlights is “What Are Dragons” (龙是什么), a previously unpublished essay by Zhou Zuoren. Critic and O-pen editorial board member Zhi An (止庵) describes the essay’s journey to publication:
In the essay itself, a rather lightweight investigation into the origins of the mythological creature, Zhou Zuoren briefly discusses traditional Chinese depictions of the dragon as a reptile, as a supernatural being, and as the Dragon King, before moving on to look at how dragons are depicted in India and in the West. He also compares the dragons to dinosaurs, crocodiles and lizards, and suggests, “We can conclude that the Chinese dragon actually existed as a large reptile, a kind of lizard. Closest to it today is probably the Komodo dragon, and hence it could be raised domestically. But the strange thing is that this not particularly sophisticated creature has left such a deep influence upon Chinese culture.”
This issue also features a translation of “Pharmacy” from Elizabeth Strout’s collection Olive Kitteridge, an appreciation of Hou Hsiao-hsien by Jia Zhangke, a short story by Hong Kong writer Flora Wong Bik-wan (黄碧云), and an essay by Annie Baobei herself.
Links and Sources
Jobs in China
Henry on The Eurasian Face
Caroline W on Big in China
Michael on Julia Lovell on translating Lu Xun's complete fiction: "His is an angry, searing vision of China"
Brandon K. on Clueless academic takes on popular fantasy novels
China Media Timeline
Major media events over the last three decades
Danwei Model Workers
The latest recommended blogs and new media
Books on China
The Eurasian Face : Blacksmith Books, a publishing house in Hong Kong, is behind The Eurasian Face, a collection of photographs by Kirsteen Zimmern. Below is an excerpt from the series:
Big in China: An adapted excerpt from Big In China: My Unlikely Adventures Raising A Family, Playing The Blues and Becoming A Star in China, just published this month. Author Alan Paul tells the story of arriving in Beijing as a trailing spouse, starting a blues band, raising kids and trying to make sense of China.
Pallavi Aiyar's Chinese Whiskers: Pallavi Aiyar's first novel, Chinese Whiskers, a modern fable set in contemporary Beijing, will be published in January 2011. Aiyar currently lives in Brussels where she writes about Europe for the Business Standard. Below she gives permissions for an excerpt.
Front Page of the Day
A different newspaper every weekday
From the Vault
Classic Danwei posts
+ Korean history doesn't fly on Chinese TV screens (2007.09): SARFT puts the kibbosh on Korean historical dramas.
+ Religion and government in an uneasy mix (2008.03): Phoenix Weekly (凤凰周刊) article from October, 2007, on government influence on religious practice in Tibet.
+ David Moser on Mao impersonators (2004.10): I first became aware of this phenomenon in 1992 when I turned on a Beijing TV variety show and was jolted by the sight of "Mao Zedong" and "Zhou Enlai" playing a game of ping pong. They both gave short, rousing speeches, and then were reverently interviewed by the emcee, who thanked them profusely for taking time off from their governmental duties to appear on the show.