麦家是中国当代著名作家，其作品已经被译为30多个语种，在海外产生了广泛的影响，是中国当代最具世界影响力的作家之一。鉴于麦家在中国当代文学海外传播过程中产生的实际影响和示范效应，中国文化译研网（CCTSS）特就麦家作品海外传播情况的反馈做一系统梳理，北京语言大学徐宝锋教授将之概括为中国文学“走出去”的“麦家模式”，希望“麦家模式”能成为中国当代文学作品“走出去”的重要借鉴与参考。（阅读更多：译研推荐 | 中国文学“走出去”的“麦家模式”）中国文化译研网现推出国内外媒体关于麦家及其作品的系列专访与报道，对中国文学“走出去”的“麦家模式”进行详细读解，此篇为专题报道第一篇。
媒体：UK《The Sunday independent》/英国《星期日独立报》刊载书评
题目：Book review: "Decoded" by Mai Jia (Trs by Olivia Milburn and Christopher Payne) China in their hand
Review: The novel also gives a fleeting glimpse of both 20th-century China and the shadowy world of its security services. Decoded’s surreal, occasionally oneiric, tone prevents the reader–and maybe the censor–associating too closely with real life, but does sketch an intriguing picture of the intelligence underground.
Decoded is the first opportunity for English readers to experience the work of Mai Jia, a bestselling novelist in his native China where he is also known through television and film adaptations of his books,Described as a forerunner of Chinese espionage fiction.
Decoded is more a novel about spies than a traditional spy novel. It recalls Rong Jinzhen, a revered figure in China for his work deciphering its enemies’ military codes. The narrator, investigating the life of this national hero through interviews with his associates, follows the orphan through his early years of squalor to his time as a child prodigy at university before being half-plucked, half-abducted to join the secret services in the mysterious Unit 701.
Jinzhen is unconventional: reclusive, cerebral, possibly autistic but definitely a genius. The novel shines in its consideration of the ambiguous difficulties of living with such brilliance. Jinzhen’s personal journey is less interesting than what the narrator learns along the way about the metaphysical nature of the challenges posed by code breaking. Decoded is compelling for its tightly wrought aphorisms, elegantly turned in Olivia Milburn’s translation. As one character typically asserts: “An interesting but wrong theory is always better than a boring but perfect proof”.
The novel also gives a fleeting glimpse of both 20th-century China and the shadowy world of its security services. Decoded’s surreal, occasionally oneiric, tone prevents the reader and maybe the censor–associating too closely with real life, but does sketch an intriguing picture of the intelligence underground.
Decoded is an engaging and highly unusual read, but the opacity of Jinzhen’s character translates to the text more broadly. Though the novel repeatedly hints towards some revelation or hidden truths, such a pay-off never comes. It is unclear if there is a subtle satire or complex allegory at work, so the novel promises slightly more than it delivers. Decoded, perhaps, is itself best read as a complex cipher, one that just eludes complete decryption.