Yu Hua

Yu Hua (born 1960) is one of the most recognized Chinese writers, whose literary style has undergone many changes. He started out writing short stories, co-creating many literary magazines during the cultural rush of the 1980s, when the introduction of economic reforms and the opening of China to the influence of Western culture contributed to the extraordinary flourishing of intellectual life in the country.

Shortly after his debut in 1983, the writer gained recognition as a promising avant-garde artist. At the end of the decade, he turned to postmodern aesthetics as a response to the deep disappointment caused by the Tiananmen Square events.

He gained the most publicity with his debut novel Żyć! (To Live!), based on which a movie directed by Zhang Yimou was made in 1994, later, awarded the Grand Prix at Cannes.

The style and literary themes of Yu Hua’s prose are strongly related to his biography. The writer’s parents were doctors, so in his childhood he lived with them in the hospital located opposite a morgue. This proximity to death shaped his later works. He practiced dentistry for five years before starting to write.

The Cultural Revolution had a great impact on the young author’s life, because this turbulent period fell on his school age (7-17 years), preventing him from systematic education and having a profound impact on his psyche. Yu Hua often returns to this period in his work by depicting scenes of chaos, a tendency to detailed descriptions of brutal violence.

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