When Mr. Mo Yan was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature this year, I felt bad I had never read his books. To make up for that I started trying to read up about his work and came across this fun read from The Telegraph, which reports that the Chinese government is planning to set up a “Mo Yan Culture Experience Zone” in the author’s village. The irony of doing this to celebrate a book which depicts the horrors of war and violence against the backdrop of a beautiful landscape is lost on the planners, it is safe to say.
What is more interesting is that Mr. Mo Yan continues to live and work on his family farm, though neither he nor anyone else in the village grows sorghum which was such a vital part of life in the past. Apparently, even in the novel, by the 1970s , the red sorghum had been replaced a by a green hybrid variety. The new “culture zone” plans to grow sorghum to maintain authenticity.
I liked the fact that Mr. Mo Yan is unmoved by all the plans unfolding around him, so unusual in these days of frenetic publicity tours and tie-ins. Now, I must read the book!