Facing Reality in China’s “Ultra-Unreal” Literature


A literary movement aiming to express the surrealist daily life of modern China (a reality that can’t be captured by traditional genres like satire or horror) is giving the next generation of Chinese authors the opportunity to subtly critique their surroundings without government backlash. Author Ning Ken calls this new genre choahuan, or ultra-unreal, which Adrienne Matai, writing for Quartz, describes as akin to magical realism, a genre that has been long used as a tool for disguising social and political critique.

Amanda Hildebrand is a painter and writer based in Los Angeles. She Instagrams: @amandahilly. More from this author →