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Can Xue

Autor(a) de Frontier

33+ Works 756 Membros 21 Críticas 3 Favorited

About the Author

Inclui os nomes: 残雪, Can Xue, Tsan-Hsueh

Image credit: Sonya >> 搜你丫, July 3, 2006

Obras por Can Xue

Frontier (2008) 127 exemplares
Vertical Motion (2011) 99 exemplares
Love in the New Millennium (2013) 89 exemplares
Five Spice Street (1988) 88 exemplares
The Last Lover (2005) 77 exemplares
Dialogues in Paradise (1988) 66 exemplares
The Embroidered Shoes: Stories (1997) 57 exemplares
I Live in the Slums: Stories (2020) 36 exemplares
Barefoot Doctor: A Novel (2022) 27 exemplares
Old Floating Cloud: Two Novellas (1992) 25 exemplares
Mystery Train (2022) 8 exemplares
Purple Perilla (2020) 6 exemplares
Hojas rojas (2022) 2 exemplares
The White Review 30 (2021) 2 exemplares

Associated Works

Pathetic Literature (2022) — Contribuidor — 25 exemplares
One World of Literature (1992) — Contribuidor — 24 exemplares
Contemporary Chinese Women Writers: v. 2 (1991) — Contribuidor — 7 exemplares
Oeuvres choisies des femmes écrivains chinoises (1995) — Autor, algumas edições1 exemplar


Conhecimento Comum

Nome legal
Deng Xiaohua
Data de nascimento
Local de nascimento
Changsha, Hunan, China
Locais de residência
Changsha City, Hunan Province, South China
Beijing, China



Calling this a surreal psychological novel seems accurate yet also wildly inadequate. Can Xue in her preface notes that the characters are made stronger through enduring suffering, which seems arguable to me. They are clearly unhappy and miserable while riding this mystery train of life, aside from brief moments of respite, and live with a death wish which they all ultimately fulfill as the wolves of the world tear the life from them. Maybe a lesson in enduring suffering until the grateful release of death comes for you. Kinda dark!

So while it’s not really my kind of book then, Can Xue’s writing, as I read through interpretations into English of course, I still find charming as I read along. Her writing is a unique and likable character. And actually, charmingly goth is an aesthetic I do tend to enjoy.

… (mais)
lelandleslie | Feb 24, 2024 |
Chinese experimental author Can Xue is like the Lady Gaga of modern Chinese literature.
- Harvard Review

Can Xue is an avant-garde writer who is mentioned sometimes as a candidate for the Nobel Prize for Literature. Her stories are described as surreal, nonrational, dream-like; or on the other hand, incoherent, bizarre, impossible to make sense of. Most of her work has not been translated into English but I Live in the Slums, a novella and a collection of short stories, has just been named to the International Booker Prize longlist.

(Can Xue also has a delightful self-puffery streak; a fun game of "Who Said It: Zlatan Ibrahimovic or Can Xue?" could be had. "I can't help but laugh at how perfect I am." - Zlatan. "Can Xue's works are truly exceptional, these kinds of fictions have already surpassed the profundity of philosophy." - Can Xue.)

She has said that both she and her readers are involved in the creation of meaning and interpretation of her works. Readers should work (hard, mind you, she doesn't like to be disappointed by us) to actively create meaning and perform the creative process while reading. With all this in mind, I curiously opened this volume and read the novella that begins the book, titled "Story of the Slums."

This novella features a rat ("I'm not a rat" - Rat) existing on the margins of a deprived community, shuttling from house to house, abused and victimized by violence, with all manner of bizarre settings and actions described with no rational cause and effect. Strange, but not lacking in the ability to have themes and meaning taken from it. What lines I jotted down from the story:

*)What in the world happened? I didn't know. Really didn't know. Everything was baffling.
*)I couldn't say I understood her. I didn't. I seemed to understand every word of that dialect, but when I put them together, I had no idea what she was saying."
*)My tangled relationship with people was probably the main reason I continued staying in the slums.
*)"Will the little thing die?"
"No way. It's a born survivor."

*)People were so fickle! I thought, we probably aren't the same.
*)The slums were my home, and also the hardest place for me to understand. Generally speaking, I didn't make a deliberate effort to understand it. Destiny drove me from one place to another.
*)I endured, I endured.

The themes I get from it are of existing apart, existing as an outsider who doesn't fit in or understand people and things around them, indeed is often baffled by what goes on. Existing as someone who is commonly treated badly. Yet, being a survivor, a tough thing that strives and survives. These themes seem to me to continue being present in the stories that continue the book.

In "Our Human Neighbors" a magpie couple are set apart (and above) the rest of their flock, and as all the other birds disappear to a seeming grim end, they alone survive. "It's impossible to understand what's going on in people's minds, isn't it?" asks our narrator's wife. "How dare you doubt your own species?" thunders our narrator's father. "When I tried to get close to them, they looked as if they were saying there was no need for me to exist in this world," says our narrator.

And it continues. In "The Swamp", whose narrator tries to find a geographic location hidden from him, he's told "What you mean is certainly not what I mean! God, why have I kept talking with you all along? How could you ever understand me? Impossible!" In "The Other Side of the Partition" the story's narrator is excited to jump into the darkness on the other side of a dividing line from all her family and community, despite being caused considerable physical pain the first time, she survives it and goes right back. In "Shadow People", our narrator is the only being who consists of more than a mere shadow, "I couldn't touch him, either... I belonged to the shadow people, and yet I was different from the others." He is told, "You'd better lie on your stomach on the floor and not move. Then no one can see you. If they can't see you, they won't be annoyed."

Despite being set apart and often abused, these outsider characters actually seem to have something that makes them superior to their supposed peers. In "Our Human Neighbors", our magpies have made the best and most cleverly formed nest, by far. In "Shadow People" our narrator decides that, "He had spoken that way because he envied me. I - a shadow with a tail." In "Crow Mountain", it's the narrator's friend who is different, and "The path she'd taken had everything - flowers, birds, cherries, chestnuts. I, on the other hand, was surrounded by darkness."

"I Am A Willow Tree" I interpreted as a description of what it can feel like to be an intellectual - like, say, Can Xue. A willow tree is planted into a garden with many other kinds of plants but does not receive the same nourishment and needs-meeting from the gardener. When rain falls, it does not get the same enjoyment, and from the shallow soil it cannot draw the same sustenance. The other plants all sing the gardener's praises, but not the willow tree, and in turn the gardener always seems to be keeping a suspicious eye on the willow, and at one point chops off part of a root and fills in the hole with dirt.

The gardener can be seen here as the government, the other plants in the garden the masses, the willow is the intellectual - set apart from the masses, different, tolerated by the government but sometimes the recipient of its violence (the chopping away of a root and filling in its space with dirt being particularly ominous). "I had no way out. My way out lay in thinking of a way out. It lay in 'thinking' itself," muses the willow, while its roots reach far down and contact some unknown region, stimulating its growth. It sometimes wonders if it can survive in this garden, but as is the book's general theme, it endures and lives.

"Her Old Home" is an examination of looking backwards at history. A woman left her old home very sick, and recovered health in her new environment. Twenty years later she is invited back by her home's new owner, who has recreated the home's interior exactly, and who even looks like her in pictures at places the woman remembers from her past. She doesn't remember the details of this place perfectly, but there is a warm comfort there and it tries to really draw her in and keep her there. "You don't need to fully understand us. All you need is to feel our love, that's enough," says a memory/person, in a most warm and inviting manner. But beware the dangers of sentimentality, though it may feel good. She was not healthy here, looking backwards toward an idealized history is dangerous and self-deceiving, and in the end she vows to not indulge it anymore.

All in all these are very interesting stories, though I feel it would be best to read them spaced further apart in time. Do not gorge on Can Xue, the brain is not a natural at reading stories like these where rationality and logical patterns are frequently absent, and it can become tiring. Each story given space and time with the reader, however, intrigues.
… (mais)
lelandleslie | 3 outras críticas | Feb 24, 2024 |
My second Can Xue and she's turning out one of my favourite living writers. The thing you notice most after reading is you're unsure what's actually happened. The stories simply seem to explore states of mind. And there are very interesting minds at work here. In fact you could probably say that she explores neurodiversity in it's broadest sense (not just confined to autism spectrum). In terms of narrative she just drops you into the story and you've no idea where it will lead. She's experimental, yes, but I find her eminently readable. I think readers who cling to 'realism' and the logical may have problems but if you just enter into her subjective narrative and expect the unexpected you will be rewarded. Personally I find she rarely writes a boring line, there are no longeurs and she keeps the intensity up throughout. The stories are stated simply which belies their complexity. They have something in common with Sufi tales: their multi-layeredness, allegorical nature and fantastic element but they differ in having no Eureka moment of enlightenment. It's up to the reader to draw conclusions and there's a mystery to them and an absurd element. There's a Zen quality to them in their non-logical development but no conclusions, not even one beyond words. Rather, they're open-ended and perspectival. I couldn't really pick favourites, the quality is consistent throughout. I haven't read enough Kafka or Borges with whom she's compared, but based on my reading experience I'd say she's one of the most exciting and unique writers around.… (mais)
Kevinred | 1 outra crítica | Apr 10, 2023 |
* I would like to thank NetGalley and the publisher of the opportunity to review this book. *

This is a collection of short stories from avant-garde Chinese writer Can Xue. They are set among the dwellings of the poor underclass, but each has its own air of strangeness, and even magic. Sentient animals and trees, shadow people, ghosts, giants, and disappearing buildings are among the devices Xue uses. There are some very interesting stories here, such as the title story and "Her Old Home", but the collection as a whole is uneven and may be a bit too much of an acquired taste for many.… (mais)
gjky | 3 outras críticas | Apr 9, 2023 |



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