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This essay offers a very personal reflection of the ways in which Yan Lianke's encounters with power have helped shape his position as an author and his literary output. Examples include the ways in which he himself was viewed as being someone in a position of power by virtue of his position in the army, but also the ways that he has been the object of political power, such as when some of his works have been subjected to political critique. He discusses having to leave his position in the army after the publication of Lenin's Kisses, and the way that his life and work has been shaped by a general sense of fear and foreboding. He discusses how, in response to his feelings of fear and anxiety in real life, he viewed writing as a form of escape and a kind of refuge.

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