YO YO, PEN NAME OF LIU YOUHONG (1955— ) - The Dictionary

Chinese Literature - Li-hua Ying 2010

The Dictionary

YO YO, PEN NAME OF LIU YOUHONG (1955— ). Fiction writer and essayist. Born in northwestern China, Yo Yo worked as an editor for an art publication in Beijing prior to going abroad with her husband, poet Yang Lian. They were in New Zealand when the Chinese government cracked down on the Tian’anmen Prodemocracy Movement on 4 June 1989. Ever since then, the couple has been living in the West, moving from place to place before finally settling down in London. Yo Yo began to write in the 1990s, which has resulted in many essays and short stories, as well as several novellas collected in Renjing guihua (Human Scenery and Ghost Speech), Ta kanjian le liangge yueliang (She Saw Two Moons), Tishen lan diao (Substitute Blues), and Hunxi (Marriage Game), and a novel, Ghost Tide. In many ways, her exile was the defining moment in her life and career. Many of her works deal with life in exile in its minute daily detail. Not only does she discuss her alienation from China, but also alienation as a human condition. The majority of her stories portray female characters who have to negotiate between marriage and personal space as well as malaise associated with modern life; the stories paint the interior landscape of the modern women. Yo Yo’s recent novel, Ghost Tide, exposes the absurdities of life in the 1950s and 1960s when China was embroiled in political fanaticism. By identifying the strong current of traditional beliefs that runs under the surface of Communist ideals, the novel brings into focus the struggle of conscience that leaves deep psychological scars on Chinese people. Through irony, humor, and fantastic mysticism, Yo Yo laments the heavy tolls the Chinese have paid and are continuing to pay while ghosts of the distant and recent past haunt the land.