Chinese Literature - Li-hua Ying 2010
XU SU, PEN NAME OF XU BING (1924—1981)
XU SU, PEN NAME OF XU BING (1924—1981). Novelist, essayist, and poet. Born in Jiangsu, Xu Su spent his childhood in the countryside and served in the Nationalist army during the Sino-Japanese War. He arrived in Hong Kong in 1950 and became the editor and founder of several publications. Most of his novels are based on his experience in the army and the patriotic activities of the Chinese youth during the Sino-Japanese War, though a few are about life in Hong Kong. They feature young lovers whose lives are intertwined with the fate of the nation, focusing on themes such as humanism, nationalism, and ethics. Xingxing, Yueliang, Taiyang (The Stars, the Moon, and the Sun), about the romantic relationships of one man and three women, expresses the author’s idealistic conception of human nature. In Yituan (Suspicion), a story about betrayal and revenge, human nature is more complicated and harder to define and friendship is put to the test when the pursuit of love reveals the truth about humanity’s moral weakness. Xu further explores the conflict between sexual passion and social constraints, questioning society’s role in suppressing basic human instincts, in stories such as “Shi jie” (Ten Commendments) and “Di yi pian qiu ye” (The First Autumn Leaf). In addition to fiction, Xu also wrote many essays and poems.