- b. 1951, Tainan, TaiwanWriterWu He [Dancing Crane] began creative writing in 1974 with the publication of his award-winning short story ‘Peony Autumn’ (Mudan qiu). A handful of assorted works of short fiction followed, continuing until 1979 when he began a thirteen-year period of reclusion. Throughout the 1980s, Wu He left publishing and mainstream society, spending several years of secluded life in Danshui, delving deep into the tribal societies of Taiwan’s aboriginal peoples (see music in Taiwan).Wu He returned to creative writing in the early 1990s with a string of brilliant works of fiction, including the novels Meditative Thoughts on A Bang and Kalusi (Sisuo Abang Kalusi) and Remains of Life (Yusheng), both of which were based on his experience living among aboriginal tribes. The latter novel gained critical attention not only for its radical structure, which consisted of a single paragraph written in stream-of-consciousness style, but also for its literary excavation of the Musha Incident, a violent aboriginal uprising against the Japanese that occurred in 1930 and was swiftly and brutally suppressed by the colonial government. Remains of Life went on to win more than seven major literary awards in Taiwan after its publication in 1999.Wu He followed his pair of aboriginal novels with a contemporary fable of lust and sexual deviance, Ghost and Goblin (Gui’er yü ayao). From the politics of brutality to the politics of the body, and from the politics of nation to the politics of the novel, Wu He’s powerful visions and literary innovations have led critic David Der-wei Wang to declare that, ‘when the history of Taiwanese literature of the twenty-first century is written, the first page will inevitably start with Wu He’.MICHAEL BERRY
Encyclopedia of contemporary Chinese culture. Compiled by EdwART. 2011.