Fourth meeting of the seventh edition of "The Garden" Reading Group
"Red Sorghum" by Mo Yan
Reading and commentary by Cosimo Adamo
The epic, grandiose story of this masterpiece of contemporary Chinese literature is set against the backdrop of the boundless Sorghum fields "that sparkle like a sea of blood in autumn." From the banditry of the 1920s, to the bloody Japanese invasion of the 1930s and 1940s, to the period leading up to the Cultural Revolution, Red Sorghum recounts the adventures and loves of the bandit Yu Zhan'ao and his family, in a fresco that portrays an entire people, an entire country. A country with countryside teeming with lost souls -- peasants, soldiers, Buddhist monks, Taoist magicians -- in which "a male wind sweeps a female land" and the blood spilled is "soft and smooth as bird feathers." From this novel Zhang Yimou made the film of the same name, Golden Bear at the 1988 Berlin Film Festival.
Mo Yan (i.e., "He Who Will Not Speak") was born in 1955 in China's Shandon Province to a peasant family. He worked for many years at the Department of the Armed Forces. He has published many works of fiction, translated into Italy and published by Einaudi: Sorgo rosso and L'uomo che alleva i gatti e altri racconti (both 1997), Grande seno, fianchi larghi (2002), Il supplizio del legno di sandalo (2005), Le sei reincarnazioni di Ximen Nao (2009), Le rane (2013), Le canzoni dell'aglio (2014), Il paese dell'alcol (2016), I quarantuno colpi (2017) and I tredici passi, published in China in 1989 and released in Italy in 2019. He is considered the most important contemporary Chinese writer and the founder of the "Searching for Roots" literary movement. In 2012 he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature.
Texts and event by The Garden Social Center