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Posted on Oct 12, 06:18PM | IANS
Chinese writer Mo Yan, who has won this year's Nobel Prize for literature, is relatively unknown to Indian readers and book shops in the capital were Friday scrambling to put his books on their shelves.
Books by Mo, who was Thursday named for the prestigious award, are not easy to come by, complained a reader.
"I wanted to know about Mo Yan when I heard that he had received the Nobel Prize for literature, but none of the book shops in south Delhi had any of his books," Soma Basu, a resident of Greater Kailash in the capital, told IANS.
But book shops said they were doing their best to comply with the sudden demand for Mo, who plots his narratives around the socio-historical perspectives of China on massive colourful canvases.
Midland, a reputed book retail chain in the capital, is getting copies of Mo's "Garlic Ballads" from its publisher, Arcade, in the US.
"Not many people have read Mo Yan. Till this week, he was completely unknown. But since Thursday, readers have been walking into my shop for his books," M.A. Baig, the founder of the chain, told IANS.
The bookstore does brisk business in the novels of popular Chinese writer Gao Xinjiang -- the Chinese emigre to France who in 2000 was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature.
"Three of Gao's books, 'Soul Mountain', 'One Man's Bible' and 'Buying a Fishing Rod' sell fairly well... Now Mo's books will find takers," Baig said.
Bahrisons in the capital's Khan Market expects to receive its first consignment of Mo's books soon.
"We don't have any books by Mo Yan but his rival Haruki Murakami, who was in the race for the Nobel Prize, sells very well in the country. Mo Yan is not popular but the Nobel Prize has changed his popularity status in India... By Saturday we hope to get fresh stocks from distributors," a spokesperson for Bahrisons said.
Crossword, one of the biggest book chains in the capital, does not have Mo Yan on its shelves either.
"Not now... Later," said a spokesperson for the Crossword Bookstore at Rajouri Garden in the capital.
For online readers, Mo's "Change" and "Red Sorghum" are available on Flipkart and Infibeam.
Foreign publishing companies in India are not yet ready to meet any sudden interest in Mo Yan's novels.
A spokesperson for Pan Macmillan said: "The publishing house has not yet published any of Nobel Laureate Mo Yan's books."
"He is still unknown in India and around the world. But now that he has won a Nobel Prize, it will draw readers to his books," the spokesperson for Pan Macmillan in India told IANS.
The acclaimed "Red Sorghum: A Novel on China", spanning the saga of three generations of a family in the 1930s, which was made into an Oscar-winning movie, has been published in translation by Penguin US.
"The book is available in India," the publisher said. The book sells because of its popularity on screen.
"The Nobel Prize is a political call these days and the idea of giving one to a Chinese author could be a politically fraught decision in a year which saw the famous Chinese dissident Chen Guang Chen... seek refuge in the American Embassy; (Mo's) books bring out the other side of China," senior communications executive Manish Singh, an avid reader of the classics, told IANS.
According to reports from China, Mo's latest and most popular "Frog" about China's "one child birth control" has sold more than 200,000 copies since it was published in 2009. It is yet to reach the Indian audience in translation.