Fan Xiaoqing, female. While her ancestral home is Nantong in the province of Jiangsu, she was born in Shanghai’s Songjiang County in July 1955. She moved to Suzhou with her parents in 1958, and in early 1985 she entered the Jiangsu Writers Association to write professionally. Fan is currently the president of the Jiangsu Writers Association, a member of the general committee of the China Writers Association, and a committee member of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference. Her writing, which consists primarily of novels and short stories, was first published in 1980. Her debut short story, Return at Night (Ye Gui), was published in Shanghai Literature. Her works contain a combined total of approximately ten million characters. She has written twenty novels. Her novel City Expressions (Cheng Shi Biao Qing) won the 10th national Five Ones Project award, and her short story A Brief History of Cities and Countrysides (Cheng Xiang Jian Shi) received the 4th Lu Xun Literary Prize. Many of her works have been translated into English, French, German, Spanish, Japanese, and Korean and have been published abroad.
Fan Xiaoqing’s fondness for the rural characters in her stories is perceptible in her prose. She portrays these characters’ cleverness and rustic, good-natured characteristics with palpable emotion. Fan is particularly adept at writing about the minutia of daily life and its interactions; these portions of her books have a noticeably human touch. She presents the joys and sorrows of these characters with a gentle and meticulous style. Although her books span considerable lengths of time, passing through several eras in a single work, the reader still does not encounter profound themes through lofty narration or symbolism. Fan Xiaoqing does not write about earth-shaking individuals or events. Instead, she prefers to use her simple prose to let her readers experience the charms of reading. This is not just her literary aim, but also her consistent writing style.
Her novel The Barefoot Doctor Wan Quanhe (Chi Jiao Yi Sheng Wan Quanhe) uses an everyday narrative style and introverted humor to depict a rural barefoot doctor (a term referring to Chinese farmers during the 1960s and 1970s who received minimal basic medical training and worked in rural villages to promote basic hygiene and healthcare, as well as treat common illnesses). With simple prose, she presents the true world that exists inside the protagonist’s heart. This barefoot doctor loses his status during the Cultural Revolution, and his son Wan Quanhe takes his place as a barefoot doctor. Wan Quanhe has not formally studied medicine, but he makes his best effort to undertake this difficult endeavor. He works together with several doctors, but each of these doctors successively leaves. In the end he is all alone. The novel paints a vivid picture of Wan Quanhe that sticks in the reader’s mind, while also drawing the reader into a limitless space. The “barefoot doctor” in this book is about more than the countryside; it also describes how the farmer and peasant has always struggled at the bottom of life’s food chain.
Sweet Fire (Xiang Huo) is the story of a young incense attendant in a temple. A cross between a monk and a worldly person, he experiences a special period in history firsthand as the book’s plot unfolds. Despite having withdrawn from the world, he views the world from a worldly person’s perspective, one full of absurdity and humor. This novel focuses on the protagonist’s daily life instead of focusing on historical scenes. Fan’s writing is laced with humor, and while it may seem to be a deconstruction, it is actually a kind of reconstruction.
My Name Is Wang Cun (Wo De Ming Zi Jiao Wang Cun) is a satirical postmodern novel. On the surface, it conducts itself with a simple, everyday attitude. However, its straight-faced manner conceals its efforts to seek quaint charms. The novel’s complex plot—namely, casting away a brother only to search for him again—contains many man-made twists and barriers. The plot also extends to include many other thought-provoking elements.