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The life and works of Wang Anyi

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The existence and writings of literary writer Wang Anyi is a depiction of the realities of life in modern-day China. Wang’s writing force of establishing her works from own experiences makes her stories and novels as an actual representations of the sacrifices, humiliations and frustrations of the formerly rich families in China affected by the decade-long Cultural revolution.

            From a wealthy and prominent Chinese family, Wang could have not thought that being “born and raised in a lane of Shanghai’s wealthiest and most prosperous thoroughfare, Huaihai Road,” would exempt her from being subjected to the cruelties of the revolution. Against their will and social status, the wealth, prominence and influence of the Wang family    was put to test by the revolution. Wang, for her part, was not even excused to experience hard labor and an abrupt interruption of her studies.

            Notwithstanding the events in their lives, Wang  utilized these difficulties as foundation of her short stories such as “Life in a Small Courtyard,” which tells of the experiences of the Chinese during the said revolution. After the revolution, those affected were able to regain their lives including that of Wang. As a true-blooded writer, she redeemed herself and emerged as an achiever who produced award-winning literary works such as the “Lapse of Time,” which is a collection of novels and short stories. The book is a real literary picture of Wang whose innate personal realism traverse the social and cultural mood of China today.

            Jeffrey Kinkley is right in describing Wang as a realist. Kinkley introduced Wang’s book by noting her naturalism and being true to the quality of daily life in modern China. In describing Wang’s short stories as about everyday urban life, Kinkley interpreted that the writer did not stretch her efforts in presenting the everyday realities, with all its hassles and difficulties, in an urban China.


Kinkley, T. J. (1988). Lapse of Time. San Francisco: China Books.

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