unreality Literature

Yan Lianke: The Explosion Chronicles Grove Press. United States

The Explosion Chronicles
Forfatter: Yan Lianke
Forlag: Grove Press (USA)
Authors across the globe would struggle to reliably reproduce what is happening in China. 


Recently, The Guardian reported that the Communist Party Central Committee is planning a new economic zone 100 km southwest of Beijing – Xiongan New Area, an urban area that will be nearly three times the size of New York. In other words, a brand new Chinese megaby is underway. And as Yan Lianke points out in the novel's afterword The Explosion Chronicles, there is nowhere where the distinction between reality and fiction is more ambiguous than in present-day China: This problem does not only apply to Chinese writers, he says: Writers across the globe would struggle to recreate what is now happening in China in a credible way.

Lianke's solution to the problem is what he calls mytorealisme, a literary writing practice that uses a variety of innovative techniques to reveal and display an otherwise invisible dimension under the tangible reality. This seems both pretentious and at the same time quite pretentious – for revealing and displaying hidden dimensions is probably what all good and important novels do.

The theory gets a little more substance when Lianke refers to Kafka (especially The transformation) and Gabriel García Márquez's magical realism as two important preconditions for myth realism. But the best evidence for the theory can be found in Lianke's present novel. It is about China's ongoing transformation, which appears to be kicking and without any clear plan, yet thorough, profound and with extreme efficiency.

The city is both a life-giving, dynamic phenomenon and a threatening, destructive force, a miracle that balances success and failure, triumph and doom.

Mixed style. The starting point is the village of Explosion up in the Balou Mountains in Henan Province, a region the author has set the plot for more. . .

Dear reader.
To continue reading, create a new free reader account with your email,
or logg inn if you have done it before. (click on forgotten password if you have not received it by email already).
Select if necessary Subscription (69kr)

Subscription NOK 195 quarter