From Foreign Policy:
Mo Yan, the Chinese writer whose novels burst with burlesque renderings of alcohol, sex, and violence, won the 2012 Nobel Prize for Literature Thursday for his "hallucinatory realism," blending aspects of "folk tales, history and the contemporary," according to the award committee.
Here are four not-entirely-safe-for-work representative passages from Mo's novels.
In which a protagonist from his 1992 novel The Republic of Wine falls in love with his mother-in-law:
As a son-in-law, maybe I'm out of line, but as a dyed-in-the wool materialist, I say what needs to be said. And what needs to be said here is, although my mother-in-law is in her sixties, she could produce a dozen little brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law for me if the law permitted and she was willing. Why does she seldom fart, and on those rare occasions when she does, why, instead of smelling bad, do her farts actually smell like sugar-fried chestnuts? Generally speaking, a beautiful woman's belly is filled with bad odors; in other words, beauty is only skin deep. How, then, can my mother-in-law be not only pretty on the outside but fragrant and appetizing inside as well? All these question marks have snared me like fish hooks, turning me into a balloon fish that has blundered into choice fishing waters. They torment me as much as they probably bore you, dear readers."During the Sino-Japanese War, from his 1987 novel Red Sorghum, which shot him to fame:
Among the chiseled flecks of moonlight Father caught a whiff of the same sickly odor, far stronger than anything you might smell today. Comrade Yu was leading him by the hand through the sorghum, where three hundred fellow villagers, heads pillowed on their arms, were strewn across the ground, their fresh blood turning the black earth into a sticky muck that made walking slow and difficult. The smell took their breath away. A pack of corpse-eating dogs sat in the field staring at Father and Commander Yu with glinting eyes. Commander Yu drew his pistol and fired-a pair of eyes was extinguished. Another shot, another pair of eyes gone. The howling dogs scattered, then sat on their haunches on they were out of range, setting up a deafening chorus of angry barks as they gazed greedily, longingly at the corpses. The odor grew stronger.
"Jap dogs!" Commander Yu screamed. "Jap sons of bitches!" He emptied his pistol, scattering the dogs without a trace. "Let's go son," he said. The two of them, one old and one young, threaded their way through the sorghum field, guided by the moon's rays. The odor saturating the field drenched Father's soul and would be his constant companion during the cruel months and years ahead.The opening scene in his 1996 novel Big Breasts and Wide Hips, a decades-long saga of a Chinese village....MORE