Buchempfehlung der Woche

von Berliac

Berliac, geboren 1982, ist ein Manga-Künstler aus Buenos Aires, Argentinien. Seine von der Kritik gefeierte Graphic Novel »SADBØI« wurde in neun Ländern veröffentlicht, und seine Kurzgeschichten wurden in Medien wie Vice, LE MONDE Diplomatique, McSweeney’s Quarterly und anderen publiziert. Er lebt derzeit in Krakau, Polen.  

Liao Yiwu
Fräulein Hallo und der Bauernkaiser. Chinas Gesellschaft von unten
Aus dem Chinesischen von Hans Peter Hoffmann, Karin Betz und Brigitte Höhenrieda, S. Fischer Verlag, Frankfurt am Main 2009.

My admiration for traditional Chinese culture, particularly Ch'an Buddhism, dates from years back. So when I stumbled upon Fräulein Hallo und der Bauernkaiser. Chinas Gesellschaft von unten by Liao Yiwu, I was immediately struck by its premise: a collection of interviews unearthing testimonies from a past not so distant at all, and yet methodically wiped out of the collective memory in the orwellian fashion common to all communist regimes. As a matter of fact, many of the interviews, masterfully crafted in a very accesible prose, narrate that precise horrendous process: from buddhist monks to toilet cleaners, from poets to small-town gamblers, the pervading message is that despite communism feasts on that which makes us human, our spirit will always be stronger. The english title for the book is The corpse walker, and despite it makes reference to an ancient funerary ritual as described in the book, it can also be interpreted as the task Liao Yiwu has taken up for himself: to carry a dead past on his shoulders, a task at which he not only succeeds, but does so with dignity and even a touch of humor. For this, and other works, Liao Yiwu had to flee the country, and now lives in Germany as a political exile. Censorship is an author's biggest existential threat. Animals can't communicate through symbols: without the freedom to speak or write, a piece of our humanity is taken away. The silencing of Liao Yiwu would’ve been a double crime, for it is not only his own individual voice which would’ve been forgotten, but also, and especially, the many behind the interviews included in Fräulein Hallo und der Bauernkaiser. Chinas Gesellschaft von unten. Luckily, like the Chinese like to say, “it was not in their fate to happen”.

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