A Yi has changed, at least since the last meeting in Beijing years ago. He still has the same eyes, lively, alert and ready to focus, on a physique that no longer seems that of the bad boy in search of the curse that triggered his career. Now he writes full-time and he has regained a position – for the first time, in his opinion – that resulted from his commitment, as well as his suffering.
The meeting takes place in Milan, where A Yi has presented the Italian edition of his book E adesso? (English edition here) at BookPride, while waiting for his other productions to be published in China and abroad. Apparently, in fact, the Chinese writer, after a rather complicated personal period, seems to have found a new creative verve. Always in crime fiction, while stirring personal experiences and real events he learnt about during his police activities.
In your novel, the story begins and ends, without any distraction or procrastination. It moves forward very fast – as the protagonist does – to the end. How did you write it? Did you start from the beginning or did you have to reconstruct the sections, moving from a precise point created before the rest?
I had an ending I thought was fascinating and so I started to build the story around it, through the preceding details that would lead to that kind of conclusion. I had in my hands a young very bored man who could not achieve any kind of “fullness.” The protagonist goes to play basketball, billiards or video games but he does not reach his goal. Actually, everything increases his sense of frustration, so he decides to play cat and mouse.
He ends up identifying with the mice, fugitive; the police, the rest of society, becomes the cat. He thinks that if the police chases him, he has to run away and thus, he can find something to do. This is why he kills a person: to attract the attention of the police. In the event that the police were not motivated enough to arrest him, he decides to kill a beautiful girl, his classmate. A beautiful and innocent person.
Only through the savagery of the gesture and the choice of the victim, the boy feels that he can unleash society’s, and public opinion’s spurn. Killing this type of person can create a real social rage, which then puts pressure on the police to find the culprit. To complete the game, he develops a range of choices, beginning with the victim’s. Then, he goes to buy the weapon and steals to find the money needed to carry out this action. During his escape, since he fears that the police is not dedicated enough to his hunting, he decides to leave tracks to facilitate his capture.
I actually wrote the beginning of the story at the end. Because after the murder and the arrest, no one knows why he did it. Only at the very last page, there is an explanation. In summary, it was boredom and the desire to live an escape experience, and to attract attention.