On the Novel

Not really, but an amusing metafictional/political satire excerpt:

from Serve the People!
Yan Lianke

To contemporary eyes, life back then must seem lacking  in emotional depth. More often than not, however, psychological complexity exists only in novels, as authors fill in details absent from protagonists' actual thoughts. As emotion, like comedy is essentially immediate, its outward expression tend to the superficial rather than the profound. . . .Then, from under his pillow, he took out a letter from his wife that had arrived three days ago and, while the dormitory was still asleep, reread it under his quilt by the light of his torch. It contained little by way of news, only that the wheat was now in and the autumn crops sown. She'd cut her hand harvesting the wheat and it had bled a lot but was better now. Because she'd had no one to look after their son while she was working, she'd left him tied up with rope in the shade of a tree at the top of the field with a few locusts and ices of tile to play with. While her back was turned, he's put a locust in his mouth and nearly choked on it. His eyes had almost popped out of their sockets, the letter said.


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