Chi Zijian


Chi Zijian
b. 1964, Mohe, Heilongjiang
Writer
Chi Zijian began her literary career in 1983 when she was a junior at college. From the beginning, critics noted her extraordinary narrative power which renders otherwise ordinary things interesting. Whether set in the historical past or in contemporary time, her stories always give a vivid sense of place, portraying the far north with its extreme climate and its crowd of finely drawn people. More than lending her stories local colour, heavy snow, dense fog and white night, typical phenomena of the far north, often give her narrative a touch of the magical.
Some of Chi Zijian’s stories are set earlier in the twentieth century. Peopled by folk dancers, bandits and those who love them, these stories are suffused with a legendary glow.
‘Folk Dance’ (Yangge) tells the story of a hugely popular dancer through the eyes of a young girl, who herself grows up to be a strong-minded woman in the course of the story. Chi Zijian’s contemporary fiction is noted for its psychological incisiveness. ‘Comet’ (Huixing) tells the story of a cosmopolitan young woman travelling back to her native village in the north to watch Haley’s Comet. En route, she gathers up a motley crowd of other stargazers, each with quirky life of his or her own. Chi’s fiction has been translated into English, French and Japanese. Representative of her work are the novels Under the Tree (Shuxia) and Morning Bells Ringing at Dusk (Chenzhong xiangche huanghun), and the novellas Fairytales from a Village of the North Pole (Beijicun tonghua) and Marching Toward the White Night (Xiangzhe baiye liuxing).
Chi, Zijian (1998). ‘Silver Plates’. Chinese Literature (Winter).
HU YING

Encyclopedia of contemporary Chinese culture. . 2011.

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