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Readers relishing Cao Wenxuan's latest novel

Updated: 2016-07-27 07:27
By Mei Jia (China Daily)

Readers relishing Cao Wenxuan's latest novel

The book cover of The Eye of the Dragonfly.

Cao looks at the historical turmoil and its influences with his signature language - peaceful, melancholy and beautiful.

"Cao has created many 'Chinese stories'. This time, the Chinese story is about an expat French lady and her homesickness, which is refreshing," says Xu Zechen, a writer and editor at People's Literature.

The eyes of the dragonfly are two antique glass beads that are passed down from A Mei's ancestors. Her granny loses them, regains them and leaves them to A Mei before she commits suicide. Before that, the grandfather takes A Mei to seek a bottle of perfume for Oceane, and is accused of spying and gets beaten. The tragedies weave a powerful narrative.

"My own childhood was filled with miseries and memories of hunger, so I hope to provide young readers an understanding of how to treat miseries," says Cao. "Many hardships the country has gone through are where its power and fortune lie. Smart writers should know how to utilize the resources."

Although Cao has tried many themes, morality, the appreciation of beauty and compassion have remained the three main areas of his writing. His works are recommended in Chinese schools for the use of language.

Late last month, the Cao Wenxuan Literature and Art Center under the China Publishing Corp held a seminar to explore the IP potential of his works, intending to create TV, film, game and even stage adaptations of his works, and to seek more opportunities of international cooperation. Cao's work Bronze and Sunflower is to be turned into a stage play, while The Iron Mark is to be adapted into an animation film.

Cao says he's focusing on finishing a novel as a gift to himself for the Andersen Award that he will receive in New Zealand in August.

The new novel's story is based on rural children whose parents are pursuing jobs away from home. Government figures suggest there are more than 60 million "left-behind" children in China.

Cao's upcoming book tells of a young boy's adventures along with his younger sister, a goose and a sheep as they look for their missing grandma who suffers from Alzheimer's disease.



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