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Ma Jian and Sjón talk to Daniel Hahn

Fictions: The Big Picture

Hay Festival 2019 , 

A conversation with two international superstar novelists who’ve created new works of extraordinary scale and scope. From exile, Ma Jian shoots an arrow at President Xi Jinping’s China Dream propaganda, creating a biting satire of totalitarianism that reveals what happens to a nation when it is blinded by materialism and governed by violence and lies. Sjón’s Codex 1962 is a breathtakingly ambitious novel. As the late, great Eileen Battersby wrote of him, the Icelandic writer “has mastered the fabulist’s technique of merging history with high-speed comedy and surreal profundity. With a man made of clay and a bewildered angel struggling to get rid of a symbolic trumpet, there are shades of the Bible as well as Milton. Sjón, an heir of Mikhail Bulgakov and Laurence Sterne, eases literary references into the text as mere suggestions.”

Claudia Ulloa, Emiliano Monge, Laia Jufresa

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Claudia Ulloa, Emiliano Monge, Laia Jufresa