About San­mao (1943-1991)

That's China - - Je T'aime, Dinghai -

Born in Chongqing, the Tai­wanese nov­el­ist, trans­la­tor and writer pub­lished her first es­say at the age of 19. San­mao showed pas­sion­ate in­ter­est in lit­er­a­ture at a very young age, and was a cult reader of the Dream of the Red Cham­ber when she was a pri­mary school stu­dent. Af­ter a dis­tress­ing in­ci­dent when a teacher hu­mil­i­ated her in front of her class­mates, San­mao stopped at­tend­ing school. Her fa­ther taught her English and clas­si­cal lit­er­a­ture at home. Her work ranges from au­to­bi­o­graph­i­cal writ­ing, to travel writ­ing and re­flec­tive nov­els, to trans­la­tions of Euro­pean comic books. She stud­ied phi­los­o­phy at the Chi­nese Cul­ture Uni­ver­sity in Tai­wan, with the goal of "[find­ing] the so­lu­tion to prob­lems in life", and taught Ger­man, in ad­di­tion to a se­ri­ous later ca­reer in writ­ing. In 1976 she pub­lished the au­to­bi­o­graph­i­cal The Sto­ries of the Sa­hara, which recorded her ex­pe­ri­ences liv­ing in the Sa­hara to­gether with her Span­ish hus­band Jose, whom she first met in Madrid and later mar­ried in 1973 while liv­ing to­gether in the then Span­ish-con­trolled Western Sa­hara. Part trav­el­ogue and part mem­oir, it was an eye-open­ing ac­count of life and love, and quickly es­tab­lished San­mao as a travel writer with a unique voice. Fol­low­ing the book's im­mense suc­cess in Tai­wan, Hong Kong and across the Chi­nese main­land, her early writ­ings were col­lected in a second book, pub­lished un­der the ti­tle Gone With the Rainy Sea­son. Deal­ing mainly with her own ex­pe­ri­ences study­ing and liv­ing abroad, San­mao's books were ex­tremely well re­ceived and re­main pop­u­lar reads to­day. From 1976 to the time of her death in 1991, San­mao pub­lished more than 20 books. She also trans­lated the comic

Mafalda from Span­ish to Chi­nese. At the age of 47, San­mao hanged her­self with a pair of silk stock­ings in a hos­pi­tal in Taipei. This took place days af­ter a cancer scare and los­ing the Hong Kong movie award for her script to the film Red Dust, a loss which she took poorly.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from China

© PressReader. All rights reserved.