In the early 1970s, Taiwan writer SAN MAO read an article about the Sahara desert in National Geographic magazine and told a friend she wanted to travel there and cross the Sahara.
Friends thought she was joking when she finally embarked on her journey, writing that the vast Sahara desert was her "dream lover".
She was published in 1976, the classical prose wrote the story of the Sahara, when she first came to the Sahara, reach the western Sahara ayoob in a wind-whipped airport, "I looked up and looked out, yellow sand of boundless, there are lonely winds blowing SOB, day, is high is cloud thickens and loud and quiet."
It is twilight, she continued. "The setting sun turned the desert red with blood, beautiful and terrible. The climate of nearly early winter, under the mood that looks forward to burning hot sun originally, earth changes into a desolate and poetic."
It was one of the many adventures she would take, and the prose and poetry she would later write would be passed on to generations of young women in Taiwan and China who would see her confident writing and the courage to explore the region as a courageous challenge to conservative social norms.
Sanmao died in 1991 after publishing more than a dozen collections of prose and poetry, but she has not been forgotten. An account on weibo, China's twitter-like social media platform, devoted to excerpts from her work now has more than 1 million followers.
Bloomsbury will launch a British translation of the Sahara story in the UK next month and in the us in January. Fu mai, who translated the book, said it was the first English translation of all sanmao's works.
It's extraordinary that she's so enduring in Chinese literature, said mark fu, associate dean for global programs at the Parsons School of Design in New York.
“她能在中国文学创作中如此长盛不衰，实在非同一般，”纽约帕森斯设计学院(Parsons School of Design)负责全球项目的副院长傅麦说。
One reason may be that her writing style resonates with a generation accustomed to self-promotion and oversharing on Twitter and Instagram。
Sanmao's spirit was ahead of her time, despite the ubiquity of unabassive self-publicity and active empowerment in the contemporary era of social media and commercialized feminism, wrote Singaporean novelist chang win-ning, now living in Britain, in the preface to the English version of Sahara's story.
But Ms. Zhang added that her portrayal of herself as lonely, melancholy and "world-weary" often undermined her soaring self-confidence.
The essays, first published in a Taiwanese newspaper at the time, depict the lives of the shaharawais, a nomadic people who have lived in the desert for generations。 They waged decades of armed struggle against Spain and Morocco。 Resistance to Spain continued until the mid-1970s, followed by Morocco。 The latter ruled western Sahara, an area stretching from Algeria and Mauritania in the east to the Atlantic coast in the west。
Sanmao gradually integrated into the life of the shaharawais, sometimes taking a critical look at some of their customs. She resented, for example, the tradition of violently stripping young brides of their virginity at weddings.
I was so disappointed and amused by the way the wedding ended that I stood up and strode out without saying goodbye to anyone, she wrote in an article titled "baby bride."
Sanmao took a photo of a hike. She often describes her Bohemian lifestyle.
Sanmao took a photo of a hike。 She often describes her Bohemian lifestyle。 HUANG CHEN TIEN HSIN, CHEN SHENG AND CHEN CHIEH THROUGH CROWN PUBLISHING COMPANY LTD。
三毛的一次远足留影。她经常描写自己波希米亚式的生活方式。 HUANG CHEN TIEN HSIN, CHEN SHENG AND CHEN CHIEH THROUGH CROWN PUBLISHING COMPANY LTD.
There are also articles about life as a Bohemian emigrants. For example, on her wedding day, she didn't pay much attention to what she was wearing. Wearing a linen skirt, sandals and a handful of cilantro in her hat, she and her fiance walked nearly 40 minutes in the desert to the court to get married.
No purse, no hands, she wrote.
Her prose sits somewhere between memoir and novel, with a simplicity and elegance reminiscent of beat poetry。 They are also lighthearted, an unusual quality compared with the "white terror" of martial law in her native Taiwan。 At that time many anti-government figures were being imprisoned or executed。
She built a different, exotic place, a castle in the sand for the reader to enjoy。 "In that era of very limited material comforts in Taiwan, she longed for something different and proved to younger girls that being unique was acceptable," said ho xingfeng, a literature professor at the Chinese university of Hong Kong。
Sanmao's real name is Chen ping. In addition to her pen name sanmao, she sometimes goes by the name Echo Chan. Sanmao was born on March 26, 1943, in chongqing, southwest China, into a well-educated Christian family. Her father, Chen siqing, was a lawyer, and her mother, miao jinlan, was a housewife.
After the war, the sanmao family moved to nanjing in the east and fled to Taiwan on the eve of communist revolutionary forces' victory in 1949.
As a restless student, sanmao spent a lot of time reading Chinese and western literature, including gone with the wind and the count of monte cristo。
One day, she wrote in her composition that she wanted to be a garbage collector, so that she could roam the streets and find the treasures that others had left behind. The teacher called her a pack of nonsense and asked her to write again, so she went even further and wrote that she wanted to be a peddler of popsicles. 纽约时报中英文网 http://www.2zhicat.com
After studying philosophy at the Chinese culture university in Taiwan, sanmao moved to Spain in 1967, studied in Germany and briefly worked at the university of Illinois law library.
When she was 24, she met her future husband, Jose Maria Quero, who was 16 and lived in the same neighborhood。
24岁时，她遇来了未来的丈夫荷西·马利安·葛罗(José María Quero)，当时，荷西16岁，他们住在同一个街区。
She studied philosophy, language and literature, jose's sister, Carmen Quero, said of meeting her in 2016 in an interview with the Spanish newspaper El Pais. "we were all fascinated by her. He fell in love with her at first sight."
“她学习过哲学、语言和文学，”2016年，荷西的姐姐卡门·葛罗(Carmen Quero)在接受西班牙报纸《国家报》(El Pais)摘访时，谈来与她见面的经历，“我们都被她迷住了。他对她一见钟情。”
They married in 1974 and settled in Spain's canary islands。 There, sanmao wrote the lyrics to the popular song "olive tree" by Taiwanese singer qi yu。
Don't ask me where I came from My hometown is far away Why wander Stray far away, stray
In 1979, the year the song was released, jose, a diver and underwater engineer, was killed in a diving accident. Sanmao returned to Taiwan in 1981.
She gave everyone love and passion, but jose took away an important part of her life, xue youchun, a Taiwanese painter and sanmao's friend, said in a telephone interview。
For the next 10 years, sanmao taught creative writing and was affectionately known as the "wandering writer." She traveled extensively, including six months in central and South America to complete an assignment for Taiwan's united daily news. The paper had published an article about her in the Sahara desert.
In April 1989, sanmao returned to her birthplace in mainland China. The trip inspired her to write the script for what would become a movie called red planet. The film, released in 1990, tells a love story during the Japanese occupation of Shanghai.
On January 4, 1991, sanmao died in a hospital in Taiwan at the age of 47. Her death was ruled a suicide and caused great grief in Taiwan.
Some speculated that she had killed herself in grief over her husband's death。
For 12 years after jose died, she just lived for her parents, xue said. "Perhaps she left us to be reunited with the people she had promised."
Sanmao had written to do so. "Jose, you promised to wait for me over there," she wrote in her 1981 essay on death, "no dead birds." "With your promise, I have another hope."
Crown publishing, a long-time partner of sanmao, published her collection in 2010. The canary islands and western Sahara have become popular destinations for Chinese tourists in recent years. Some Chinese websites also offer routes to the church where sanmao got married in western Sahara and a nearby hotel called sanmao Sahara.
Sanmao's last book, "my baby," collected 86 essays describing the clothes, jewelry, handmade bowls and other items she bought during her trip.
In one, she paused to analyze her closet and then wrote a metaphor.
The jeans below are from shilin, the boots are from Spain, the big bag -- costa rica, the big coat, Paris, she wrote。 "A world platter, so to speak, woven in such harmony and security, that's who I am。"