Metaphors in Montreal - a David Gutnick documentary
A profile of Chinese writer, Xue Yiwei. Mr. Xue is one of China's best-known and most celebrated writers, but he lives quietly, almost incognito, in a high rise apartment in Montreal. His novels and short-story collections are read by millions, but his neighbours have no idea who he is.
CBC Radio ·
Sunday Edition14:47Metaphors in Montreal - a David Gutnick documentary
For the last fourteen years, Xue Yiwei has been living in a high rise apartment in the Montreal neighbourhood of Côte-des-Neiges. He's on friendly terms with his neighbours and the building maintenance staff. They have no idea who he is - other than a very fit middle-aged guy who jogs through the cemetery and up round the cross at the top of Mount Royal.
And he likes it that way.
Bring up the name Xue Yiwei in China and millions and millions of people, from professors to factory workers, know exactly who you are talking about. He is one of the country's best known and most celebrated writers. His novels and short story collections are bestsellers: contemporary classics. Ha Jin, the award-winning Chinese American writer has called Xue Yiwei a "maverick ...who stays alone and aloof, far from the restive crowds back in his homeland." Far indeed.
This fall in Montreal, his work is being published in English for the first time. The book of translated stories is putting the hard-won solitude of the writer in a bit of jeopardy.