Picture of author.

Yu Hua

Author of To Live

52+ Works 2,318 Members 98 Reviews 2 Favorited

About the Author

Includes the names: Hua Yu, 余华, 余華, 余华 (Yu Hua)

Image credit: © dpa

Works by Yu Hua

To Live (1993) 646 copies
China in Ten Words (2010) 477 copies
Brothers (2008) 451 copies
The Seventh Day: A Novel (2013) 145 copies
Cries in the Drizzle (1992) 51 copies
Le cose del mondo sono fumo (1998) 13 copies
Torture 12 copies
Un amour classique (2000) 10 copies
Brothers: prima parte (2008) 9 copies
123 4 copies
Flesjes knallen verhalen (2018) 2 copies
To Live (Chinese Edition) (2017) 2 copies
1986 (2006) 2 copies
战栗 1 copy
许三观卖血记 (2012) 1 copy
125 1 copy
124 1 copy
122 1 copy
soul food (hardcover) (1991) 1 copy
Råb i støvregn (2021) 1 copy
我胆小如鼠 (2003) 1 copy
活著 (2007) 1 copy

Associated Works

Found in Translation (2018) — Contributor, some editions — 36 copies
Coming of Age Around the World: A Multicultural Anthology (2007) — Contributor — 24 copies
O'r pedwar gwynt, Haf 2019 (2019) — Contributor — 1 copy


Common Knowledge

Legal name
Short biography
Mae Yu Hua (1960-) yn un o awduron cyfoes mwyaf dylanwadol Tsieina. Cyhoeddir yma ddarn o ysgrif o'i gyfrol 'Tsieina mewn deg gair' (2010), lle mae'r olrhain esblygiad ystyr y geiriau hyn a'r newyddiadau a fu yn ei wlad dros y degawdau diwethaf. Cyfieithwyd ei waith i dros 40 o ieithoedd.
(O'r pedwar gwynt, Haf 2019).



I have read Yu Hua's columns in the New York Times for some years and enjoy and learn from his lens on modern China. For some reason I have not read his books before this one though this book and two of his novels, To Live, and Chrinicle of a Blood Merchant, have been in my TBR for years. I am so glad I finally got to this smart, painful, sometimes sweet (but not saccharine) eye-opening essay collection. China in Ten Words offers something hard to come by, cultural criticism anchored with memoir from China. While I admit that sometimes this reads a little moralistic -- this is especially true in the section on love and romance -- mostly it is just good storytelling with loads of personality that walks us through the seismic shifts in China from the Cultural Revolution (the time during which Yu grew up) to the current obsessive amoral money-obsessed economic powerhouse. It is strongest when Yu shares his childhood experiences to illustrate the ways in which human impulses to do good have been subverted.

In addition to cultural criticism, there is a linguistics angle to these essays, about how we turn words describing bad things into good or neutral words and thereby erode the moral fabric of a place and a people. So much of what he discusses in early 21st century China can be applied to 2015-present America. Yu's perspective is illuminating.

Published in 2010 this book uses 10 common Chinese words to illustrate the points mentioned above. Surprisingly, though the shift seems revolutionary it turns out that many things haven't changed as much as you might think. The stated goals are 100% different, but the people's behaviors and choices not so much. I was particularly taken by the "Copycat" and "Bamboozle" sections which takes us down the road to post-truth China (though China has been sort of post-truth for nearly a century.)

Unsurprisingly, this book is banned in China. I am surprised and pleased Yu Hua is allowed to write and live in China (and travel abroad in support of his books.) I will be moving on to other works.
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Narshkite | 20 other reviews | May 1, 2024 |
Story: 7 / 10
Characters: 7
Setting: 7
Prose: 6
MXMLLN | 25 other reviews | Jan 12, 2024 |
This is a nice set of stories showing life in China for everyday people. Being fiction, it is hard to say whether it is an accurate depiction of China, but it's probably pretty close. In these stories, focus rests briefly on brutishness, petty cruelty, small-mindedness, and all the other everyday evils of daily life, with two particularly ugly scenes setting the tone in the first 2 stories as a 'halfwit' man is tricked into becoming complicit in the killing of his only friend, and a small boy is tortured by a vendor for stealing an apple. There are some nice scenes, too, but not so many, or so frequently that we can forget that under the nice veneer, any of these people may posses a much crueler side, as simply another aspect of their very normalness. The people in these stories struggle with finding the balance between conformity and individuality, good behavior and servility, and the wrong step at any point can prove disastrous in a society where everyone is watching and eagerly waiting for their chance to get ahead of you without being seen to be trying too hard.
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JBarringer | 3 other reviews | Dec 15, 2023 |
This was a really good book but holy crap was it depressing. Great story of the life struggles of Fugui with the history of Communist China as the background. If you liked this try "Wild Swans" on of my all time favorite books.
CMDoherty | 25 other reviews | Oct 3, 2023 |



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