Zhang Kangkang


Zhang Kangkang
b. 1950, Hangzhou
Writer
Zhang Kangkang is a representative of the generation of writers who were Red Guards and ‘sentdown youth’. Her fiction is characterized by lively characterization and vivid diction, as well as a keen grasp of the social mood.
Zhang volunteered to go to the ‘Great Northern Wilderness’ as an ‘educated youth’ in 1969. Her novel The Demarcation (Fenjiexian, 1975) deals with ‘educated youth’ and is a work of propaganda. After Mao’s death, however, she was among the first writers to call for liberation from dogmatic thinking. In February 1979, she published The Right to Love’ (Ai de quanli) and in 1980 The Northern Lights’ (Beijiguang), both of which received great attention. In the early 1980s, several stories about the confrontations between Chen Lang, an independent-minded female student, and society, as represented by the college authority, further dismanded hypocrisy and dogmatism. Zhang’s first real novel, The Invisible Companion (Yinxiang banlu, 1986), is a skilful use of internal monologue, flashback and stream of consciousness. It probes into the split personalities of ‘educated youth’, who have been shaped by propaganda and lies. The Red (Chitong danzhu) is a biographical account of her parents’ devotion to the Communist Party and their subsequent suffering, while Love Corridor (Qing’ai hualang) is a call for beauty and love in an increasingly commercialized environment.
Leung, Laifong (1994). ‘Zhang Kangkang: Sensing the Trends’. In idem, Morning Sun: Interviews with Chinese Writers of the Lost Generation. New York: M.E.Sharpe, 229–39.
Zhang, Kangkang (1987). ‘The Right to Love’. Trans. R.A.Roberts and Angela Knox. In One Half the Sky: Selections from Contemporary Women Writers. London: Heinemann, 51–81.
(1988). ‘Northern Lights’. Trans. Daniel Bryant. Chinese Literature (Winter): 51–81.
(1996). The Invisible Companion. Trans. Daniel Bryant. Hong Kong: New World Press.
LEUNG LAIFONG

Encyclopedia of contemporary Chinese culture. . 2011.

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