Chinese Literature - Li-hua Ying 2010
FANG FANG, PEN NAME OF WANG FANG (1955— )
FANG FANG, PEN NAME OF WANG FANG (1955— ). Fiction writer. Fang Fang graduated from Wuhan University where she majored in Chinese. Often mentioned with Chi Li, another Wuhan writer, Fang is noted for her “new realist” stories, which present contemporary urban life with an accessible style. Her novellas Taohua can (Brilliant Are the Peach Blossoms), Fengjing (Scenery), and Luori (Sunset), among others, are all about life in the city of Wuhan. She portrays the difficulties of survival for the urban poor and the rivalries and distrust that exist among friends and family. Caught in the midst of abject poverty, her characters struggle in a spiritual quagmire, out of which they are unable or unwilling to extract themselves. Economic and social injustice breeds hatred and distorts human nature so that those few who have managed to climb out of their miserable conditions have succeeded only through dishonorable and ruthless means. In this seemingly hopeless urban slum, traditional morals struggle to prevail. In her novella Wanjian chuan xin (Ten Thousand Arrows Piercing the Heart), Fang Fang portrays a flawed character who redeems herself by doing hard manual labor to provide for her family. Throughout her career since the 1980s, while depicting urban life, Fang Fang has consistently focused her attention on women, investigating the disconnect between their dreams and reality. In the urban slums and the white-collar world, Fang Fang finds multidimensioned women who struggle to come to terms with their emotional needs under enormous social and economic pressure. The unambiguous empathy for women and their conditions shown in the stories manifests the author’s feminist stance.