In recent news, Huang Xiaoming just replaced Dylan Kuo as Ou Chen in the Summer of Bubbles after investors complained to Peter Ho, the producer and co-star (as Luoxi) of the drama. Huang Xiaoming apparently liked the script so much that he agreed to be paid a fraction of his worth just to be in the drama. Other than the fact this’ll be the first Taiwanese drama starring a mainland actor, it’s also significant as Summer of Bubbles is one of the several mainland books that’s been recently picked up as dramas. A word on the direction of Chinese literature and dramas.
Summer of Bubbles is by Ming Xiaoxi, who’s probably my favorite contemporary author after Guo Jingming. Compared to Guo Jingming’s melodramatic tales of tragic heroes, Ming Xiaoxi’s books are probably more chick-lit, with a typical two guys-one girl plotline and little social commentary. But with excellent plotlines and beautiful prose, Ming Xiaoxi succeeds at painting the magical wonderland of any girl’s dreams.
Guo Jingming’s Tiny Times, a metropolitan tale that’s been called a blend of Gossip Girl and the Devil Wears Prada, will also be made into a drama this year by EE Media, which is also making the new Meteor Garden. I need to finish reading it, but so far, it’s been really different from his previous books. It’s more fast-paced and almost superficial, like the city and its inhabitants that Guo Jingming portrays. Maybe I’m out of touch with Chinese metropolitans (not that I’m very fond of big cities in general), but it’s one of my least favorite works by him so far. Nevertheless, an overwhelming majority of Chinese citizens liked it.
The mainland entertainment industry is rapidly changing, and along with it is its literary circle. Until recently, novels were written either for adults or children, with nothing in between (except for study guides). Yet with the recent bloom of young authors like Guo Jingming, Han Han and Ming Xiaoxi, that’s changing.
CFensi pointed out the comparison between them and directors.
The 5th generation Chinese directors, even the 6th generation …their experiences were mostly in rural China and hence we get a lot of The Road Homes and whatnot. But those younger directors who grew up in urbanized China like Zhang Yibai prefer painting a picture of Chinese city life. Here, people like Guo Jingming, product of the “Little Emperors” generation in China, who like shiny, pretty things have begun changing Chinese literature to something more modernized.
Interestingly enough, here’s the very similar commentary by the New York Times:
For all the over-the-top melodrama and brand-name dropping, his novels’ contemporary urban settings, Guo said, are far closer to the reality of his readers’ lives than the harsh countryside of China’s modern classics. And his frothy novels…do reflect social issues in their own way.
Of course, I would like to point out that out of the seven novels he has written, only Tiny Times has brand name dropping, one is set in a fantasy land and another in ancient China. In conclusion, don’t read that article because it has many factual errors, not to mention an obvious bias.
But back to the topic. In the past few years, there has been a growth of TV series, movies and literature targeted at the youth. The popular drama Fen Dou/Struggle is a prime example of this. Its tale of a group of young college graduates striving to achieve thezir dreams echoes many of the struggles that today’s youths face. It was so successful that it was made into a play, which you can read about here. With the success of such works and the eventual growth in power of the younger generations, we can expect to see more and more dramas targeted at the new audience. Can these works will do for mainland dramas what Guo Jingming and Han Han did for its literature? Stay tuned, and we’ll find out.
A synopsis of the book, whose complete story can be read legally here.
When she was 11, Yi Xiamo, an adopted child, fell in love with the prince of the school, Ou Chen, the young “Master” who arrives to school in Lamborghinis and private jets. When Xiamo was 15, her father adopted another child.
He was Luoxi , a heartless, irresistable orphan who stole the attention of her world. Out of jealousy, Ou Chen sent Luoxi to England. That fateful day he left, Xiamo‘s parents died in a car crash. Angered at Ou Chen, Xiamo told her she hated him.
That night, Ou Chen lost his memories in another car accident.
Five years later, Luoxi became a superstar. To pay for her brother’s expensive hospital fees, Xiamo, too, decided to become a celebrity. Though memories of her biological mother, a singer/prostitute, haunted her, she eventually rose to success with her phenomenal beauty and talents. The two met, fell in love again, and became the golden couple of the entertainment industry.
That same five years later, Ou Chen saw her performing on stage. Though he has lost his memories, he couldn’t help but being attracted to that mysterious girl on stage. Did they know each other? Did he love her?
When Ou Chen found out the truth about their past, he swore he would make her pay for betraying him, but he couldn’t help but loving her. He brought her company in the hopes of burying her, but instead helped her in her road to stardom.
Yet when the person she loves the most, her sweet little brother Yin Cheng, fell ill once more and needed a kidney replacement, only Ou Chen’s kidney had the right fit. She begged him, telling him she would do anything if he gave his kidney to Yin Cheng. He asked her to marry him.
The day of the wedding, Yin Cheng found out about the deal and refused to accept the kidney.
The day of the wedding, Luoxi tried to commit suicide.
What will happen to Yin Cheng? To Luoxi?
Who will Xiamo marry?
Who does she love?