Fliesâ Eyes, Mural Remnants, and Jia Pingwaâs Perverse Nostalgia Carlos Rojas Like the trompe lâoeil itself, the fly is obsessed with minutiae, Christian or Confucian. The fly moves between the cracks of houses and bones, waiting upon feasts and misfortune; it generates â it was long thought â spontaneously, coming from nowhere to live briefly on what we leave behind. It is the afterimage of the flesh. â Hillel Schwartz, The Culture of the Copy In the preface to Old Xiâan (Lao Xiâan), a recent volume of old photographs for which the novelist Jia Pingwa contributed a textual commentary, Jia recounts how he once observed some foreigners trying to converse in Chinese with the receptionist at a Xiâan hotel. The foreigners were apparently having considerable difficulty understanding the receptionistâs Xiâan dialect and asked her why she didnât simply use standard Mandarin. She replied that, during the Han and Tang dynasties, the Xiâan dialect was the standard in China. At this point, Jia Pingwa continues in an apparent non sequitur; positions 14:3 doi 10.1215/10679847-2006-020 Copyright 2006 by Duke University Press positions 14:3 Winter 2006 a fly suddenly flew over and landed on a touristâs hat. The tourist asked the
positions asia critique – Duke University Press
Published: Dec 1, 2006
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