Monday, April 19, 2010

Reader's Diary #604- Gao Xingjian: The Accident

Gao Xingjian is the only Chinese-born author to have won the Nobel Prize for Literature, doing so in 2000. At the time, however, he was a citizen of France, having immigrated there in 1987 and becoming a citizen in 1997. "The Accident," by Gao Xingjian is my short story choice for this week and comes from the June 2003 edition of the New Yorker.

I loved the writing. Xingjian presents the opening scene slowly but methodically and I found myself thinking of Bob Ross, the mellow afroed painter from PBS television. However, it's also apparent that there's something amiss and the typical, mundane city day is about to crack.

The accident mentioned in the title involves a bus hitting a man on a bike and the story goes on to show the day consuming this slight deviation. How such events shake us and whether or not the tragedies of strangers touches us in a meaningful way is explored beautifully and creatively by Xingjian. I especially enjoyed how in the last paragraph Xingjian switched from the third person to the first. I've read stories before that switched point of view, but this one felt more like the breaking of the fourth wall. Suddenly I felt that Xingjian and I had been in this together. We'll now go our separate ways, just as the other witnesses had.

(Did you write a post for Short Story Monday? If so, please leave a link in the comments below.)


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the review. Will check it out. I also reviewed a story today at
Also, I'm running a poll on short stories. Please stop by to vote when you can. Thanks.

Loni said...

Seems like an interesting story.
My review can be found here:

Margot said...

Thanks for introducing me to Gao Xingjian. The story sounds good and I'm off to read it. I wrote a short story post this week. You can find it here.

Teddy Rose said...

Great review John. It sounds really good. I just saved it to print out.

I reviewed a short this week. I wasn't all that impressed with it but here's the link to my post:

Friendly Fire