Translated Chinese Fiction Podcast: Q & A with Translator of “Last Quarter of the Moon”

Angus Stewart recently interviewed me about translating Chi Zijian’s novel that chronicles the tragic twilight of the reindeer-herding, Tungusic-speaking Evenki of northeastern China. The tale has since been translated into several languages, including French, Japanese and Swedish.

You can find the podcast here:

Episode 42 of the Translated Chinese Fiction Podcast

Ep 46 – The Flock of Ba Hui with Dylan Levi King The Translated Chinese Fiction Podcast

If anyone is reading this notebook — don’t come looking for me. Don’t.In the forty sixth episode of The Translated Chinese Fiction Podcast we are undergoing black initiation into The Flock of Ba Hui. Returning to the show to rescue me from the abyss – or hurl me into it – is the extremely online Dylan Levi King. We have quite a beast to wrestle with this episode. Lovecraftian fiction, from the Chinese internet, curated, translated and packaged in paratexts by two particularly unorthodox individuals.-// NEWS ITEMS //Women Writing China: Female Authors and Chinese LiteratureHow a Music Streaming Site Became a Safe Space for Leftist ListenersPeking Noir with Paul French-// WORD OF THE DAY //(邪神呼唤 – Xiéshén Hūhuàn – the call of Cthulhu)-// MENTIONED IN THE EPISODE //the Cthulhu mythosthe Ring of Wonderthe Yi PeopleWestern Xia as 'lost civilisation'Yi Izzy Yu & John Branscum on Ji Yun's weird fictionRacism in Lovecraft's writing'Neoreaction' and the fantasy/horror genre-// Handy TrChFic Links //Episode TranscriptsHelp Support TrChFicThe TrChFic MapINSTAGRAM 🐙 TWITTER 🐙 DISCORD 🐙 HOMEPAGE
  1. Ep 46 – The Flock of Ba Hui with Dylan Levi King
  2. Ep 45 – Strange Beasts of China with Yan Ge and Jeremy Tiang
  3. Ep 44 – Ge Fei and Peach Blossom Paradise with Canaan Morse
  4. Ep 43 – Can Xue and I Live in the Slums with Stefan Rusinov
  5. Ep 42 – Chi Zijian and The Last Quarter of the Moon with Bruce Humes

如果你正在中国,这链接可能更合适: Episode 42 of the Translated Chinese Fiction Podcast

As it is a fairly long interview, I’ve noted several of the themes and when they occur. No guarantee that you can “pick and choose,” but here they are in case you are able to do so on your smartphone or PC:

0.13: Q & A begins
0:17 Turkic languages
0:19 Overview of Evenki within multi-ethnic China
0:23 Treaty of Nerchinsk
0:27 China’s 56 official “minzu”
0.33 Nomadic lifestyle of reindeer-herding Evenki
0:39 Arrival of the Han & their lumberjacks
0:42 As ecological novel
0:45 Eco-feminism
0:49 Female Shamans
0.53 Magical realism
1:09 Gu Tao’s documentaries
1:12 Disaffection of the new generation of Evenki
1:14 Chi Zijian’s background
1:19 Han author, Evenki first-person narrator
1:21 Narrator’s language
1:25 Soviet crackdown on Shamanism
1:26 End of Shamanistic tradition
1:28 Impact of the China Writers Association
1:32 Irony of party-driven collectivization
1:36. Doomed romance between narrator’s mother and the Shaman
1:39 Cultural taboos
1:44 Various titles of the novel in translation
1:50 Translating Evenki terms
2:00 Multilingual glossaries
2:03 Han, Chinese and “Wolf Totem”
2:10 Word of the day: Urireng
2:14 Chi Zijian’s use of Evenki vocabulary

Related reading:

Author’s Afterword

Northern Hunting Culture

Evenki place names behind the hanzi

In the Arctic, Reindeer Are Sustenance and a Sacred Presence

Various versions of the novel: Chinese; Dutch; English; French; Italian; Japanese; Korean; Spanish; Swedish