Li Guantong of Yutai, Shandong Province, was born in October 1949 in Fengxian County, Jiangsu Province in a family of traditional Chinese medicine practitioners. He was admitted to the Chinese Language Department of Liaocheng University in 1977. He graduated from the University in 1982 and transferred to the Provincial Writers Association in 1988. He was a member of the China Federation of Literary and Art Circles and was vice chairman and creative director of the Shandong Province Writers Association. He has published 14 novels. His Dongtian won the eighth National Excellent Short Story award. A Corner of Heaven is Missing won the first Lu Xun Literature Prize novella award. Some of his works have been translated into English, French, Russian, Arabic and other languages and have been published outside China.
Mo Yan, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature, once said: “Guantong has been writing for more than 20 years, and his achievements are splendid. He has been acquainted with Chinese medicine since he was a child and is familiar with yin and yang. His novels are written with a mix of reality and imagination, have a broad setting, and possess a deep cultural heritage. They are worth learning from.” The critic Lei Da had this to say about Li Guantong: “Graceful, natural and unrestrained language, the mix of the real and the imaginary, the spiritual appeal of Du Fu’s blood, and the spiritual home of generous and loving people.” Critic Wu Yiqin praised him: “The real and absurd, parables and symbols, reality and fantasy, the inner heart and the outside world are all blended together perfectly; the ingeniousness of conceptualization, the familiarity of the narrative, and the thoughtfulness of the language are all praiseworthy.”
Li Guantong has written three literary articles: The Story of the World, A Corner of Heaven is Missing, and The Season of the Lost, with vivid imagery and depth in meaning, filling the secret of the fable and the mystery of fate. The Story of the World is about a writer from a cultural center who loses his soul through the impact of the commodity economy. Feeling overwhelmed and not knowing what to do, he becomes a typical representative of embarrassment. The book A Corner of Heaven is Missing is a story about the damaging of a corner of a worthless stone statue of a culture center. The museum’s cultural experts appeal for money to be raised. There is eventually enough raised to fund the building of a pavilion with a tablet inside. However, as no one could have expected, the pavilion is built on another priceless tablet. In the confusion, the expert dies because of his grievances. He is representative of helplessness in the changing of the times.
The Season of the Lost is a group portrait: a female curator from the countryside engaged in music who offers her body to the village chief for tuition fees. Then, for the sake of money, she worked part-time as a “senior prostitute”; the old curator of the culture hall is a once gloried battle hero. In the materialistic society of today, his glory, his merits and prestige have been forgotten by the people. Forgotten fears are quietly afflicting him. Finally, one day, after an unexpected incident, he runs naked through the street in broad daylight. The story of his past becomes a topic of conversation for people once again. A poet sees literature as life, and the “crisis” of literature is a crisis in his life. Every night, he prepares himself to die and sleeps while neatly dressed. As soon as the lights go out, he hears the sound of his late father urging him to go on the road. An artist who is tortured by various kinds of social pressures and a lumbar disc herniation gains inspiration from a dog. Every morning he practices walking on four legs like a dog and becomes so good that he can run with his son on his back. He even pees by cocking his leg up next to a tree… The ending of the novel is even more shocking. Wanting to cry but with no tears appearing, he lets out a long sigh: almost everyone from the center gets admitted to a mental hospital one after the other.