In Change, Mo Yan, the 2012 Nobel Laureate in Literature, personalizes the political and social changes in his country over the past few decades in this novella disguised as autobiography—or vice-versa. Unlike most historical narratives from China, which are pegged to political events, Change is a representative of “people’s history,” a bottom-up rather than top-down view of a country in flux. By moving back and forth in time and focusing on small events and everyday people, Mo Yan breathes life into history by describing the effects of larger-than-life events on the average citizen.
“Through a mixture of fantasy and reality, historical and social perspectives, Mo Yan has created a world reminiscent in its complexity of those in the writings of William Faulkner and Gabriel García Márquez, at the same time finding a departure point in old Chinese literature and in oral tradition.”— Nobel Committee for Literature
“If China has a Kafka, it may be Mo Yan. Like Kafka, Yan has the ability to examine his society through a variety of lenses, creating fanciful, Metamorphosis-like transformations or evoking the numbing bureaucracy and casual cruelty of modern governments.” —Publishers Weekly, on Shifu: You'll Do Anything for a Laugh
Guan Moye (simplified Chinese: 管谟业; traditional Chinese: 管謨業; pinyin: Guǎn Móyè; born 17 February 1955), better known by the pen name Mo Yan (English pronunciation: /moʊ jɛn/, Chinese: 莫言; pinyin: Mò Yán), is a Chinese novelist and short story writer. He has been referred by Donald Morrison of U.S. news magazine TIME as "one of the most famous, oft-banned and widely pirated of all Chinese writers", and by Jim Leach as the Chinese answer to Franz Kafka or Joseph Heller. He is best known to Western readers for his 1987 novel Red Sorghum Clan, in which the Red Sorghum and Sorghum Wine volumes were later adapted for the film Red Sorghum. In 2012, Mo was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature for his work as a writer "who with hallucinatory realism merges folk tales, history and the contemporary".
On 11 October 2012, the Swedish Academy announced that Mo Yan had received the Nobel Prize in Literature for his work "with hallucinatory realism merges folk tales, history and the contemporary". Aged 57 at the time of the announcement, he was the 109th recipient of the award and the first ever resident of mainland China to receive it—Chinese-born Gao Xingjian, a citizen of France, having been named the 2000 laureate. According to Swedish Academy head Peter Englund: "He has such a damn unique way of writing. If you read half a page of Mo Yan you immediately recognise it as him".