LIN BAI, PEN NAME OF LIN BAIWEI (1958— ) - The Dictionary

Chinese Literature - Li-hua Ying 2010

The Dictionary

LIN BAI, PEN NAME OF LIN BAIWEI (1958— ). Novelist. Born in Guangxi and graduated from Wuhan University, Lin Bai is noted for her bold descriptions of sexuality and the female body. Yigeren de zhanzheng (One Individual’s War), an autobiographical novel decried as pornography when it was released, is a feminist declaration of independence. In the words of the heroine: “An individual’s war means a hand that slaps itself, a wall that blocks itself, a flower that ruins itself … a woman that marries herself.” The novel, now considered a major feminist work, details the life of a girl from the age of five, when she begins to explore her own body, to her middle-age years. The expression of the protagonist’s hidden desires and emotions reveals the author’s deliberate attempt to challenge a cultural taboo against the public display of personal feelings about sex and sexuality. Other similar works by Lin include “Pingzhong zhi shui” (Water in the Bottle), a languorous tale about lesbian love, and Zhiming de feixiang (A Fatal Flight), an intense love story that ends violently. Her most recent work, Funü xianliao lu (Records of Women’s Gossips), is an oral history of rural women told in their own colloquial voices.