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 https://trchfic.podbean.com/e/ep-42-chi-zijian-and-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 … Continue reading Translated Chinese Fiction Podcast: Q & A with Translator of “Last Quarter of the Moon”

China’s First 20th-century Epidemic: Brief Excerpts from Reportage and Fiction

For those of you who would like to learn a bit about China’s pre-21st century experience in dealing with epidemics, I’ve woven together three topical items, all of which center around an epidemic that took place in early 1900s China. They include news about the upcoming launch of a French translation of a “plague” novel — 《白雪乌鸦》by … Continue reading China’s First 20th-century Epidemic: Brief Excerpts from Reportage and Fiction

Swedish Readers to Get First Glance into World of China’s Marginalized Reindeer Herders

With the upcoming launch of Ett brokigt band om renens horn, we have a rare instance of a member of China’s dwindling reindeer-herding Evenki telling her people’s story in a European language. Given the historic marginalization of Scandinavia’s own semi-nomadic reindeer-herders, the Sami, it is particularly significant to see that the first translation of the … Continue reading Swedish Readers to Get First Glance into World of China’s Marginalized Reindeer Herders

Extract from Chi Zijian’s New Novel, “Peak among the Mountains” (群山之巅)

The Saber When livestock catch sight of Xin Qiza, the Butcher of Longzhan Town, they realize that this is their doomsday sun. They take fright, even though that isn’t a butcher knife strapped at his waist — it’s just his beloved pipe. Winter or summer, as long as it’s sunny, Xin Qiza needn’t light his … Continue reading Extract from Chi Zijian’s New Novel, “Peak among the Mountains” (群山之巅)

Quick Guide to China’s Contemporary Ethnic-themed Literature in Translation

Updated: May 3, 2018 (No plans to further update) Quick Guide to China’s Contemporary  Ethnic-themed Literature in Translation I’m often too busy to immediately write a well-researched post about contemporary “ethnic-themed” fiction that has been translated and published in a foreign tongue. This is a loose category (民族题材文学) that includes stories — regardless of the … Continue reading Quick Guide to China’s Contemporary Ethnic-themed Literature in Translation

“Last Quarter of the Moon”: Readers Speak Out

An admittedly quirky collection — selected by me — of unedited online reviews of my translation of Chi Zijian's 额尔古纳河右岸 (Last Quarter of the Moon). Not to worry. They aren't all glowing recommendations. . . * * * Beautifully written, but depressing as fuck. (full text) * * * It is an atmospheric modern folk-tale, … Continue reading “Last Quarter of the Moon”: Readers Speak Out

1982-2015 Mao Dun Prize: 43 Winners — But which Ones Truly Benefited Sales-wise?

Over the last few years, the veil has been partially lifted on what has been China’s most coveted literary prize for the novel, the Mao Dun Literature Prize, which is awarded just once every four years. You can bone up on the scandals behind this and other awards here if you like. The Beijing Daily … Continue reading 1982-2015 Mao Dun Prize: 43 Winners — But which Ones Truly Benefited Sales-wise?

Mongolian Shaman Songs of Praise Rendered in Chinese

Two poets have collaborated to publish a book containing 29 renditions of songs of praise traditionally chanted by shaman. The original odes in Mongolian were first translated into Mandarin by Mongolian scholar Ni Ma (尼玛), and then polished by Xi Murong (席慕蓉), who also knows Mongolian but was educated in Taiwan. The book is published … Continue reading Mongolian Shaman Songs of Praise Rendered in Chinese

“Last Quarter of the Moon”: Evenki Odyssey Captured in Chinese Novel Set in the Greater Khingan Mountains

My translation of Chi Zijian’s Last Quarter of the Moon (额尔古纳河右岸) can be ordered — e-book, hard cover and paperback — online at various places, including Amazon. Read the opening for free here (click on the cover), or the author’s Afterword. For information on other editions, see: Dutch (Het laatste kwartier van de maan), French,  Italian … Continue reading “Last Quarter of the Moon”: Evenki Odyssey Captured in Chinese Novel Set in the Greater Khingan Mountains

“Last Quarter of the Moon”: Evenki Place Names behind the Hànzì

I grew up in places with names like “Winnetka” and “Sewickley,” spellings no doubt based on mangled transliterations of old, even ancient Native American words. I vaguely recall that Sewickley meant “sweet water,” but no one seemed sure. How many cities, mountains and rivers in China, I wondered, hide their non-Han origins? Evenki Mountain Name … Continue reading “Last Quarter of the Moon”: Evenki Place Names behind the Hànzì