Wu Sumei

Wu Su Mei, was born in 1979 in Suzhou which she still regards as home, although as a self-described 'free sprit' she spends a lot of time traveling. Among her favourite routes are those which take her through Tibet and South East Asia. Much of Wu Sumei's writing features stories about people on the road, and the unconventional relationships and experiences that develop there. One important theme for Wu Sumei is women's desire for freedom and the difficult tension with their desire for love. Her characters are often young independent women on the run from disappointing relationships, seeking on the road the creative freedoms and 'pure love' that they can't find in China's mercurial city life. A related theme is that of the search for authentic creativity and the difficulty of finding creative space in a society dominated by the drive to raise its material standard of living. Being on the road emerges as a state in which new and random conjunctions of people and places are created on the margins of China's narrative of economic development, allowing liberating possibilities to emerge. In her writing Wu Sumei admits that what she describes as the 'purity and elegance of love' is a 'fantasy' but still dedicates herself to maintaining this fantasy, commenting that 'our media seems to need this, my readers need this, or rather tender hearts need this.'  One of the writers who has influenced her is Zhang Ailing.


A prolific writer, Wu SuMei has already published seven books. These include 'the Patient Life', 'Empy City,'. Until I was Weary', 'A Slight Pain,' 'A Noisy Sigh, 'Can't get it, Already Lost,' and 'A Lijiang Love Thihg], and 'Seven Types of Love'

The short story Frustrations typifies some of WuSu Mei's main themes. The narrator is a 25 year old girl who leaves City C and comes to the small tourist town of Zhouzhuang to try and write a book. She feels betrayed by her boyfriend Renshu, who has abandoned his own artistic ambitions and taken a job with an advertising agency. For the narrator, Yuanbai, cities are places where 'love is always being distorted, trampled, and destroyed.' In Zhouzhuang however, Yuanbai becomes drawn into the dysfunctional relationship of two local people, Qimin and Chengxi, whose story develops a strange interface with her own fiction.  Eventually she falls ill...