Yu Hua Cries in the Drizzle,
translated by Allan H. Barr.
Anchor Press, 320 pages, $13.95
Brought up during the Mao era in provincial Zhejiang, the writer Yu Hua experienced firsthand the harsh realities of China’s Cultural Revolution. Trained as a dentist, Yu began writing seriously in his twenties after realizing he would earn the same wages for working in the more pleasant environment of a cultural center. His early fiction consisted of short stories that were experimental in style and bleak in content, and he was critically acclaimed for his radical avant- gardism in Chinese literary circles during the 1980s. Commercial success came later, with the publication of his second and third novels. Comical and grim, these more realist, character-driven narratives are written in a clear and simple prose that illuminates the humanity of those portrayed as well as their courageous will to survive. His books constitute a...