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Bohemian inspires young generation

By Yao Minji   (Shanghai Daily)

13:31, March 25, 2013

SAN Mao was one of the first and most influential Taiwan authors on the Chinese mainland, appealing to young Chinese in the 1990s with her backpacking, her marriage to a Spanish man eight years her junior and her Bohemian fashion and lifestyle.

At the time, China had just started its double-digit economic growth and young Chinese were only beginning to get a glimpse of the outside world. They were glimpsing a world beyond traditional Chinese values where they had to follow orders - rather than follow dreams.

At that time, the idea of backpacking to far-off places and taking a "gap year" in studies and work was unheard of. San Mao's travel books, mostly fictionalized autobiographical tales, opened a new window and offered more possibilities.

San Mao, born Chen Maoping in Chongqing in 1943, grew up in Nanjing, capital city of Jiangsu Province, and Taiwan, rode a wave of popularity, lived life to the fullest and committed suicide in 1991 at the age 48.

At age 23, she quit school and traveled in Spain and the United States, where she met Jose Maria Quero Y Ruiz, who later became her husband and played an important role in her life and her books.

In 1976, San Mao published her first work "The Stories of the Sahara," which drew on her own experience of marrying Quero Y Ruiz in the Sahara and traveling around. He later died in an accident and San Mao was devastated; her pain was reflected in her later works.

She was famous for her signature Bohemian dressing style with long, straight black hair, ethnic dresses and large colorful jewelry.

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Email|Print|Comments(Editor:GaoYinan、Wang Jinxue)

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