Su Tong's allure

Rice by Su Tong

Some people consider Su Tong China's best writer in the 21st (and 20th) century, and they're right. Well, I consider him that. I got to know about Su Tong after watching the immortal Zhang Yimou movie Raise the Red Lantern. Then I found his book, Rice, and was enthralled. In the book, you get to see the disintegration of a family. I seem to remember with great clarity that one of the characters is really disturbing. She has a feline quality to her character, and an undercurrent of vengeance in her spirit, expertly masked by her drowsy mannerisms.

Su Tong, in my opinion, just captures the spirit of the Chinese excellently. The tragedy, the sadness inherent in our millenia-history, the blight of our flawed human nature ... he makes it all so beautiful and poetic for some reason.

But he isn't what I call an easy author to read because sadness just permeates every page of his books ... and I'm the sort that likes to be happy when I read! Hah.

The most gorgeous thing about my work, and my sister's, is that we both get free books. Can you imagine what amazing luck it was that my sister brought home Su Tong's latest translated novel, My Life as Emperor, home? Now, if only I could set aside some time to read it (I still have a few "assigned" novels to read and review).

Meanwhile, if you want to try reading Su Tong, do start out with the novella Raise the Red Lantern. It's one of his finest.