The Wall Street Journal has an excerpt from Mo Yan's novel, The Republic of Wine. Mo Yan is the recipient of the 2012 Nobel Prize for Literature, and this satire novel is to be reissued later this year (its English translation has been out of print).
As the night deepened, I detected the aroma of liquor off to the northeast, an intimate, seductive smell, even though there was a wall between it and me, and it had to soar across one snow-covered roof after another, pierce the armor of ice-clad trees, and pass down roads, intoxicating chickens, ducks, geese, and dogs along the way. The barking of those dogs was rounded like liquor bottles, exuberantly drunk; the aroma intoxicated constellations, which winked happily and swayed in the sky, like little urchins on swings; intoxicated fish in the river hid among lithe water weeds and spat out sticky, richly mellow air bubbles. To be sure, birds braving the cold night air drank in the aroma of liquor as they flew overhead, including two densely feathered owls, and even some field voles chomping grass in their underground dens. On this spot of land, full of life in spite of the cold, many sentient beings shared in the enjoyment of man’s contribution, and sacred feelings were thus born. ‘The popularity of liquor begins with the sage kings, though some say Yi Di, and others Du Kang.’ Liquor flows among the gods. Why do we offer it as a sacrifice to our ancestors and to release the imprisoned souls of the dead?
[Continue reading at: Wall Street Journal]