Lu Yao’s stories capture the experiences shared by many Chinese people. CFP
Though he has only two published works, Lu Yao (1949-1992) is one of the most celebrated Chinese writers of the 20th century.
Dec 2 would have been Lu’s 70th birthday. Bookstores, universities and writers’ associations around China have held lectures and reading campaigns to commemorate the writer.
What makes Lu stand out even today?
“His stories focus on every ordinary young person in the great transformation of Chinese society,” said Li Jingze, vice chairman of the China Writers Association.
In his book Life, we read about the tortuous life of a young man named Gao Jialin. Graduating from high school in the 1980s, Gao is ambitious and wants to work hard in the city for a better life. However, due to his identity as a poor and powerless man from a small village, he loses his job and eventually has to return to his hometown.
His story mirrors the real lives of many young people at the time.
“When I first read Life during my college years, I burst into tears. I felt that my life path and fate resonated with his. It seems that his blood is flowing in my blood vessels,” said Chinese writer Ge Fei.
Lu’s works not only feature the fates of young people but also “the heartbeat of the time”, CGTN noted.
As a realistic piece of work, the story in Ordinary World spans from early 1975 to 1985, and aims to panoramically reflect the huge historical changes of urban and rural life in China.
In this book, which won the Mao Dun Literature Prize, Lu tells the story of two brothers – Sun Shaoping and Sun Shao’an – pursuing their dreams. He presents what he saw in that era: the conflict between the new ideas of city life and the traditional views of village life as society developed.
Nowadays, young people who leave their hometowns to follow their dreams in a big city face similar dilemmas. This book still inspires young people confronted with difficulties and setbacks.
“In the past 40 years, millions of Chinese people have had new experiences, emotions, dreams and pains amid great changes. They are deep in people’s hearts and Lu Yao wrote it out,” Li Jingze told CGTN. “His works inspire many to walk ahead, out of passion for life, with the trends of the time, and provide a sense of meaning to their lives.”