Liao Yiwu

Nick has put up a mention of Liao Yiwu’s The Corpse Walker, an incredible collection of interviews by a Chinese writer and dissident. I first came across Liao’s work in an issue of the Asia Literary Review, while I was traveling in Southeast Asia. I vividly remember traveling by bus from Bangkok to Khorat, in slow, gradual pursuit of the temple of Phanom Rung, reading this article. Each time my eyes drifted out the window, within seconds they came back straight back to the page: not just because of the interviews themselves, but because of the lengths to which they went to make the book. They’re nothing short of extraordinary. And a reminder of how much we, in the West, take for granted: the ease with which we write and publish, the carefree assumption there will be no knock on the door once a book has gone to print. Unlike Nick, I’m not in a position to comment on the translations, but he’s right: the interviews in The Paris Review are worth the time regardless.