LIU SUOLA (1955— ) - The Dictionary

Chinese Literature - Li-hua Ying 2010

LIU SUOLA (1955— )
The Dictionary

LIU SUOLA (1955— ). Composer, singer, and fiction writer. Growing up during the Cultural Revolution, Liu Suola wrote her first story in 1984, a few years after graduating from the Central Conservatory of Music, where she studied composition and piano. Trained in classical music, she finds rock and roll and the blues more fitting to her rebellious spirit. Pursuing her dual career of musician and writer, Liu has been successful in both endeavors, though recently she has spent more energy on her experimental music. Her literary output consists of fictional works, most of which are novellas. “Ni biewu xuanze” (You Have No Choice) is about life in a music school where students feel frustrated with the authoritarian environment. It highlights the tensions in Chinese society between high-handed repression and uncontrollable creative spirit and gives voice to the sense of futility and discontent felt by the “lost generation” born in the 1960s and 1970s. A short novel, Hundun jia ligeleng (Chaos and All That), based on her sojourn in London, reflects the eclectic influences in the author’s life, from street profanities to political mumbo jumbo, from Chinese operas to Western rock lyrics. Narrated by an émigré artist who lives in London, the story records events that took place in Beijing in the memories of the protagonist. Another novel, Nüzhen tang (Soup of the Female Chastity), is a collage of an assortment of genres, including myths, travel notes, drama, poetry, folk songs, newspaper articles, and screenplays. The novel tells a futuristic story that takes place four thousand years from now.

Liu’s other publications include “Lantian lühai” (Blue Sky and Green Sea) and “Xunzhao ge wang” (In Search of the King of Singers). In all her works, the influences of Jack Kerouac, J. D. Salinger, Albert Camus, and Joseph Heller, whose works she read in the early 1980s, are easily detected. Her heroes are artist rebels who share many similarities with the author herself.

Liu currently lives in New York. She continues to write and perform music and has released three albums. See also WOMEN.