Yesterday Guan Moye (管谟业) became China's first Nobel Prize winner for literature. The author of eight books and several collections of short fiction is perhaps best known for his novel Red Sorghum (红高粱). Red Sorghum was adapted into a well-received movie of the same name by director Zhang Yimou (张艺谋) in 1987. Guan is more widely known by his pen name Mo Yan (莫言), which means "don't speak" in Chinese.
Although Mo had achieved some level of success and acclaim, in 1994 he found it difficult to get his manuscript Big Breasts and Wide Hips (丰乳肥臀) published. The novel was first published in 1995 by Kunming magazine Dajia (大家), Yunnan Net is reporting.
Dajia, translated as "Master" by its publishers, issued the novel serially over several issues. Li Wei, then editor-in-chief of the magazine, recalled that he traveled to Bejing to secure the book's publishing rights and was shocked he was the first to inquire about them.
Li remembers there were some problems when his magazine first began publishing Mo's work. "It generated some controversy, but this is normal. No good literary work is without controversy. There are 100 different Hamlets in 100 different peoples' eyes," said Li.
The controversy was not generated so much by the novel's title as by Mo's literary style and subject matter. Big Breasts and Wide Hips was criticized for its stark portrayal of life during the Cultural Revolution.
This is a subject Mo has repeatedly delved into in his other works. Big Breasts and Wide Hips is also a work devoid of powerful male characters. The novel is primarily concerned with strong women and weak, or ineffectual men. The book has gone on to become one of Mo's more recognized and heralded works.
Mo is the first Chinese citizen to win the Nobel Prize for literature and is being lionized around China despite often skirting controversy with his novels. His writing style incorporates elements of magical realism and has been compared favorably to authors such as Gabriel García Márquez and Haruki Murakami.
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