东西 Dong Xi
Dong Xi is the pen name of Tian Dailin. Male. Born in March 1966 in Guangxi. Currently the director of the Creative Center at the Guangxi University for Nationalities. His major works include the novels A Resounding Slap in the Face (Er Guang Xiang Liang), Record of Regret, and Tampering with Fate (Cuan Gai De Ming). His novella Life Without Language (Mei You Yu Yan De Sheng Huo) was awarded the inaugural Lu Xun Literary Prize in the National Excellent Novella Award category and was adapted into the film Sky Lovers. The film featured well-known actors Liu Ye and Tao Hong and also won an award in the Best Artistic Contribution category at the 15th Tokyo International Film Festival. Record of Regret received the Novelist of 2005 award in the 4th Chinese Language Literature Media Awards. Tampering with Fate was included in the Chinese Fiction Society’s 2015 list of Chinese novels and received the Outstanding Writer Prize in the 6th “Hua Cheng” Literary Awards. Some of his works have been published in English, French, Korean, Vietnamese, German, Thai, Italian, Greek, and Japanese.
Chinese critics see Dong Xi as representative of a new generation of writers, inheriting some of the spiritual temperament and literary gifts of China’s avant-garde movement of the late 1980s and 1990s. As stated by Professor Chen Xiaoming, a faculty member of the Chinese department at Peking University, “Dong Xi is skilled at structuring the plots of his novels. His books are complicated and intriguing, with a strong sense of symmetry.” Yu Hua, the famed writer of To Live and other works, has stated, “In Tampering with Fate, Dong Xi makes a conscientious effort to depict interpersonal dramas. With vivid language, he writes vividly about oppression and vivid acts of resistance.
A Resounding Slap in the Face is the story of three siblings in the Niu family. Born into troubled times, they grow up among disorder, like three sprouts growing along a muddy shore. Life Without Language features a family with blind, deaf, and dumb members; despite their difficulties in communicating with one another, each uses their senses that are unimpaired to work together and accomplish the tasks that constitute an ostensibly “normal” life. In a world filled with constant noise and conflict, Dong Xi’s silent family serves as a source of inspiration.
In Record of Regret, Zeng Guangxian misses his chance with a girl who courageously declares her love for him, all because of his own fear and ignorance. Driven by physical desire and impulses, he climbs into the room of the girl that he admires. Despite not even touching her, he is accused of rape. After ten years in prison, he discovers love on a spiritual level. Once released from prison, he actively takes responsibility for his previous wrongs, losing his chance at love in the process. Over the thirty years that pass from his initial repression of physical impulses to his eventual embrace of them, Zeng Guangxian always seems to make the wrong choice. As a result, he is constantly filled with regret, and he comes to believe that the best choice is the one he hasn’t made.
In Dong Xi’s recent work Tampering with Fate, Wang Changchi goes to the city to work after being refused to go to college even his score national college entrance exam is qualified. His dignity is whittled down bit by bit. He has a son, Wang Dazhi, and for the sake of the boy’s future, he surreptitiously gives Wang Dazhi to a wealthy family, becoming a “shadow father.” Wang Dazhi’s adoptive parents change his name to Lin Fangsheng. After graduating from college, Lin Fangsheng becomes a police officer. He reopens a certain case, one that mentions a drowned man named Wang Changchi, and he suddenly realizes that the man was his birth father. Lin Fangsheng is caught in a dilemma: should he destroy the evidence, or should he bring his adoptive father to justice? The novel uses black humor to depict the polarization of modern-day China. Dong Xi’s sympathy for his characters makes clear his sense of literary responsibility, as well as his sense of social responsibility.