February read – Wild Swans by Jung Chang

It began with Goethe, who said in his conversations with Eckermann that the time had come for world literature and that everyone should work to accelerate it, and to do so it was important to read Chinese novels – thousands of them!

This at a time where translated texts probably were a little more scarse then they are now. What a time to be alive! So I went searching for the best Chinese novel I could find and everywhere I looked the same novel appeared on all the lists I scowered; Wild Swans by Jung Chang. This had to be the one! And as I wanted to not only read world literature, I also wanted to learn more about China. Wild Swans: Three daughters of China strikes me as perfect for that, with three stories from three different generations.

“When he asked my grandmother if she would mind being poor, she said she would be happy just to have her daughter and himself: ‘If you have love, even plain water is sweet.” 

Jung Chang – Wild Swans: Three daughters of China

I’ve also looked around for a few other authors and I found that translation from Chinese to English is a challenge. Not only in getting it translated, but grasping the nuances of the meanings. As with most translations, I believe some things will always be lost in the true understanding of a language. These are tree authors I find interesting and that have been recommended to me in my search for Chinese literature. I hope to be able to read several Chinese works this month!