The Reception of Yan Lianke in Hong Kong

Carole Hang-fung Hoyan, Yijiao Guo

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Yan Lianke is a prolific and yet controversial mainland Chinese author who attracts global attention. Three of his novels and short-story collections banned in the mainland were published in Hong Kong, including Serve the People! (2005), The Years, Months, Days (2009), and The Four Books (2010). He served as Visiting Professor of Chinese Culture at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology and was conferred Doctor of Letters honoris causa. His two lecture collections review the dissemination and impacts of nineteenth- and twentieth-century world literature on China. What is the significance of Yan's encounter with Hong Kong? How do Hong Kong scholars and critics view Yan's mythorealist portrayal of the economic development of China in the age of globalization? This paper investigates the reception of Yan in Hong Kong from a cross-regional perspective by analyzing Yan's literary works published in Hong Kong, his award-winning novel The Day the Sun Died, The Explosions Chronicles, and The Four Books in particular. It also probes into the dynamics of how Yan and his writings travel to Hong Kong and beyond. The chapter draws on materials including anthologies reviews, journal papers, articles on local Chinese and English newspapers, academic conferences, graduate theses, and interviews. The quantitative approach of word cloud will be employed to supplement the analysis. This chapter holds that Yan is perceived in Hong Kong as a controversial mainland author, who revealed through his mythorealist the “reality” hidden behind China's door that is half-opened and half-closed. Moreover, the significance of Yan's encounter with Hong Kong lies in its cross-regional publications and activities, which enable a censored writer to connect with global readers.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Routledge Companion to Yan Lianke
EditorsRiccardo Moratto, Howard Yuen Fung Choy
Place of PublicationLondon
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)9781003144564
Publication statusPublished - 11 Mar 2022


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