ZHANG YUERAN (1982— ) - The Dictionary

Chinese Literature - Li-hua Ying 2010

The Dictionary

ZHANG YUERAN (1982— ). Fiction writer. Born in Ji’nan, Shandong Province, Zhang Yueran majored in English and law at Shandong University and studied computer science at National Singapore University. One of the post-1980s generation, Zhang began writing at a young age. After Mengya (Sprouts), a literary journal for young readers, published her stories, she became a popular teen writer. Winner of several awards including the Singapore Undergraduate Literature Prize (second place), Zhang has attracted the attention of mainstream literary journals and newspapers as well as established writers such as Mo Yan, who wrote the preface for one of her books.

Zhang’s best-known work is Yintao zhi yuan (The Distance of Cherry), a sentimental, coming-of-age novel about two girls who grow up together and who experience friendship, love, and death. Hong xie (A Red Shoe), a tale of retribution, depicts the relationship between an assassin and a little girl who witnessed him murder her mother. Shi niao (The Story of the Revenge Bird) was inspired by Chinese mythology and the author’s personal experience of the 2004 tsunami that devastated the countries bordering the Indian Ocean. The novel, set in the 17th century at the height of sea expeditions, portrays a Chinese woman who loses her memory in a tsunami as she journeys to Southeast Asia. Populated by colorful characters such as pirates, sing-song girls, eunuchs, and European missionaries, the novel creates a historical past and a South Seas landscape saturated with magic and fantasy. See also NEW GENERATION WRITERS; WOMEN.