LIN HAIYIN (1918—2001) - The Dictionary

Chinese Literature - Li-hua Ying 2010

LIN HAIYIN (1918—2001)
The Dictionary

LIN HAIYIN (1918—2001). Fiction writer and essayist. Born in Osaka, Japan, Lin Haiyin moved with her parents to Beijing in 1923 where they lived until 1948. After her father, an educated Taiwanese, died in Beijing, Lin worked as a journalist to support her family. In 1948, Lin and her husband, Huang Fan (Xia Chengying), took their three children to Taiwan. Lin worked as an editor for a newspaper and later for an independent press. She played a crucial role in fostering a new generation of Taiwanese writers including Zhong Lihe and Huang Chunming. Lin died in Taiwan.

Though she began to write in Beijing, Lin’s literary career did not take off until the 1950s, when she settled in Taipei. Most of Lin’s works written between the 1950s and 1960s are based on her memories of her life in Beijing. Cheng nan jiu shi (Memories of Peking: Southside Stories), a memoir of her childhood, is Lin’s most important work. It consists of reminiscences about her years in Beijing and vignettes of people she met in her neighborhood. Lin presents a vivid picture of local customs and living conditions of Beijing during the early 20th century. There is a strong sense of nostalgia running through these stories. Scenes such as Mama Song riding a donkey back to her hometown, kids playing by the neighborhood well, and the thief hiding in the haystack are what made up the lives of lower-class society in Beijing. These and other scenes are watched from the perspective of an innocent child. Besides her Beijing stories, Lin wrote children’s literature, including some fairy tales and a large number of essays. See also WOMEN.