Chinese Author Yan Lianke made the shortlist of the last edition of the Grand Prix of Literary Associations with his novel “The Explosion Chronicles”. We’ve been through the book and also collected some impressions from the GPLA team. Read on below what this wonderful work is all about.
The novel, as its title seems to suggest, is written in the manner of a historical document. The author reports the meteoric rise of a small village called Explosion, which in record time has gone from small town to metropolis. If the name and the place are a creation of the author, Explosion is reminiscent of certain localities of China, the country of the author, which have so to say "exploded" in the space of a relatively short period, with an exponential demographic growth, favored by a prosperous and wealth-creating economy.
"The Explosion Chronicles" can be considered as a miniature representation of the unprecedented industrial and economic growth of today's China. This long-dormant giant which according to some experts made its prosperity mostly thanks to its cheap labor force, but also to some extent to its corruption, which was reigning in the country at all levels of administration, as well as in the business milieus.
At Explosion, there’s no concern for morality or good morals in the frantic race for enrichment. The leaders did not hesitate to resort to corruption, organized robbery, pimping, and all sorts of unholy schemes to preserve or favor what seemed to them the interest of the village, and later the city.
Yan Lianke is thus resurrecting in this book one of the most recurrent topics of modern times: yes to progress, but at what cost?
In terms of style and writing, Yan Lianke is certainly an aesthete, but also an innovator. In this book, he presents what he himself called "mythorealism". A mode of narration where the border between the absurd and the real is, so to speak, unreal. While remaining bond to the rigorously empirical style of historian displayed at the beginning of the novel, Yan Lianke keeps on playing with wonders. He does not hesitate to stage flowers that change colors according to the moods of men, plants or animals that speak, interact with the characters, without affecting the logic or seriousness of the story.
In this novel by Yan Lianke, the dream is so close to reality that both seem to be one world: the land of wonders and economic miracles. Explosion.
Previously released on lebureaudelacritique.wordpress.com, by Palabre Intellectuelle