Lunch with China's Mo Yan

Gunter Gluecklich / Laif

Pragmatic
Mo Yan's writing is sharp yet careful

Mo Yan ought to be in his element. The 55-year-old Chinese writer (Mo Yan is a pen name, Guan Moye his real one) is in his hometown of Gaomi, Shandong province, a place he has described as the wellspring of his creativity. It's also the location of most of his vivid, at times brilliant, novels. Local Communist Party officials are honoring the town's famous son with a lavish lunch, but as the dishes are served — three kinds of fish, oysters, sea cucumber — the author looks increasingly surprised. "I had no idea that Gaomi had a restaurant of...

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