Zhou Libo - A Famous Modern Chinese Writer
Zhou Libo (Chinese: 周立波, born Zhou Shaoyi (周绍仪), 1908-1979) is a famous Chinese modern writer and translator. He began publishing in 1934- His works include: the novels The Hurricane, The iron Torrent, Great Changes in a Mountain village- the reportage impressions of the Shanxi-Chahar-Hebei Border Region; and Selected Works of Zhou Libo (7 volumes). He is also the first to translate Sholokhov's novel The Reclaimed Virgin Soil into Chinese.
Like Ding Ling's The Sun Shines over the Sanggan River, Zhou Libo's The Hurricane(《暴风骤雨》) is also a classic work about the land reforms. The story is set in a certain Yuanmao Village on the banks of the Songhuajiang River in Northeastern China. By describing the process of land reform in Yuanmao Village, the author passionately extols that, under the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party, Chinese peasants are unfettered from thousands of years of feudal social relations to start on a bright path towards liberation. The Hurricane wonderfully portrays a host of lovable peasant characters such as Zhao Yulin, Guo Quanhai, Bai Yushan, Sister Bai and Liu Guilan. The warmhearted but boastful and strutting Grandpa Sun is especially impressive. The characterization of Grandpa Sun was obviously influenced by Sholokhov's The Reclaimed Virgin Soil. Similarly, the portrayal of negative characters, such as the landlord Hanlaoliu and hishenchman Hanchangbo are also vivid and effective.
Poster of the movie adapted from Zhou Libo's The hurricane
Zhou Libo comes from Hunan Province. Although he didn't spend much time participating in land reforms in Northeastern China, his novel successfully reflects the distinctive character of Northeastern China at that time. Zhou Libo flawlessly masters the dialect of Northeastern China and uses it deftly in his novel. Evidence of his novel's great success can be found in its ability to stir strong feelings of nostalgia among many readers. The bold and rough-edged tone adopted by the novel artistically sets off the down-to-earth and uninhibited character of the people of Northeastern China.
Great Changes in a Mountain Village is the sequel to The Hurricane in terms of its historic content and purpose. Great Changes in a Mountain Village is composed of two parts: the formal novel and its follow-up. The novel describes the development of a certain Qingxi Village in Hunan Province, from an early agricultural cooperative to an advanced commune. The author artistically unveils the attitudes of Chinese peasants who follow the road of collectivization and the social conditions in new China's countryside before and after the agricultural cooperative movement. It also analyzes Chinese peasants' ideology, sentiments, psychology and ambitions in a period of great historic change. The novel shows that agricultural collectivization was the second hurricane in China's countryside. Like The Hurricane, Great Changes in a Mountain Village is also marked with distinct epochal characteristics.
Great Changes in a Mountain Village, by skillfully portraying a group of typical figures such as Deng Xiumei, Liu Yusheng, Li Yuehui, "Tingmianhu," Wang Jusheng and Zhang Guiqiu, adds color to the gallery of characters in modern Chinese literature. "Tingmianhu" is especially well portrayed, looking like the true brother of Grandpa Sun in The Hurricane.
The characterization in Great Changes in a Mountain Village has distinct national features. Each chapter in the novel focuses on one character and one story. The author is good at putting forward characters by describing their behavior and placing them in difficult and intense conflicts. This style of depicting characters appears to come from Chinese classical novels.
Great Changes in a Mountain Village possesses the strong local color of South China. The beautiful landscape and the special folk customs create a charming panorama, which imbues the novel with unique Cultural connotations.
Zhou Libo is a master at using language. The language in Great Changes in a Mountain Village is fluent, concise and humorous. The adoption of the Hunan dialect further displays his craftsmanship as a great linguist.