Notice how war tragedy is always a huge theme in the Chinese literary scene? These are the novels and poetry anthologies that you should stock your shelves with.
While we love to get out and about on the weekend, go on a camping trip to Tap Mun or attend different creative workshops, we also love to read our favourite graphic novels. If you’re more of a let’s-stay-in person, we’ve put together a list of our favourite books by Chinese authors, some of whom are the most influential authors in the country, so you know what you should start reading next.
A beginner’s guide: Books by Chinese authors that you should put on your bookshelves
Call to Arms by Lu Xun (1922)
Call to Arms features a number of short stories by Lu Xun, including A Madman’s Diary, Medicine and The True Story of Ah Q. Having made satirical and brutal critique on humanity and antiquated social conventions, Lu Xun’s works reveal his strong desire for revolution and changes. It’s definitely one of most influential books by a Chinese author in the last century.
The Field of Life and Death by Xiao Hong (1935)
The Field of Life and Death portrays peasant life from 1920s and early 1930s, mainly emphasising the suffering and mistreatment of women. As one of the most successful female Chinese authors ever, Xiao Hong dealt with more misfortune than one could ever take – losing her mother at a young age, being abandoned by her fiance soon after she got pregnant, almost being sold to a brothel, and eventually passed away during wartime in Hong Kong.
To Live by Yu Hua (1993)
Having gambled away all his money, losing his mother to detrimental illness and getting caught up in the misfortune of the Chinese Revolution, protagonist Fugui’s life took a 180-degree turn. This is a story about losing loved ones to injustice and natural selection in times of political violence. Many historical events in China such as Great Leap Forward, Three-anti and Five-anti Campaigns are also mentioned in the story.
The Rose of Time: New and Selected Poems by Bei Dao (2010)
Bei Dao is one of the most successful contemporary Chinese poets. His works articulate the bitterness of living in fraught political times and being separated from his family due to political issue. This book is heartfelt, astonishingly beautiful and very melancholic.
The Flowers of War by Geling Yan (2012)
This novel is written based on the true stories that happened during the Nanjing Massacre in 1937. An American missionary took in a group of schoolgirls, prostitutes and wounded soldiers in his church and The Flowers of War follows how the situation gets chaotic when the Japanese are outside figuring a way in to attack. It’s definitely one not to be missed.