In his latest novel Pow!, Nobel Prize-winning author Mo Yan draws on his childhood in rural China to recreate life in a rustic community during the 1990s. The novel is narrated entirely by Luo Xiatong, a young man seeking to enter a monastic order. As part of his rite of passage he must tell his life's story to an ancient monk who listens impassively throughout. He describes his experiences growing up in Slaughterhouse Village, which evolved during his youth from a small settlement of farmers into China's number one meat processing facility. Luo intersperses his history with comments and observations about the present as he gets distracted by a festival taking place outside the temple. As the narrative progresses, the story becomes more and more fantastical until the past and present seem to merge.
The text relies heavily on oral tradition, and the chronicle feels very much like a ...
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The Steady Running of the Hour
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