As advocates of the New Realism, Fang Fang and Chi Li are the two major women novelists who (focus) themselves on city life. Both of them write about life in the metropolitan area of Wuhan in central China, each presenting a different picture of the city with a considerable concern for the way ordinary city people live. Despite the fact that some critics prefer to put them in the same category, to which they are both indifferent, they are totally different in their aesthetic orientation and artistic achievements. A critical survey of their (narratives) will undoubtedly help to gain a better understanding and evaluation of the works of women writers in contemporary China. Fang Fang specializes in constructing her narratives in a humorous style. Her ability in storytelling, first of all, finds expression in her use of language characteristic of the time and aesthetic elasticity. The three novellas that she wrote in the late 1980s-White Dream, White Fog and The White Pony-are the stories of pure language configuration. The heroes of the novellas are all young city dwellers representing the (fundamental) changes in values and life styles, which are taking place in contemporary China's city life. The "lost (generation)" with "quasi-nihilism" resulting from the past utopian fanaticism is depicted in her (satirical) (narration). They disdain the hypocrisy of the existing institutionalization and dogmatism but find no escape whatsoever. A cynical narration has then taken over to tell the stories of the guys and gals to infuse some (meaning) into the modern city life after a light smile.
As can be clearly seen in her representative work The Scenery, an idealistic passion flows through Fang Fang's works, giving her a chance to express big ordeals in the sufferings of people of no importance. The name of Chi Li began to rise with her Crescent Moon. Her later works have been frequently reprinted in different media. She could not have gained today's influence in the field of contemporary Chinese novellas had she not published her Troubled Life. Despite the fact that Chi Li entered her prime period of creation in the 1990s, a progressive decline in terms of the quality of her writing has been seen after her Troubled Life, though interrupted sometimes. Nevertheless, a single book of Troubled Life suffices to establish Chi's position as one of the excellent writers in the modern Chinese literature. Going deep into their inner world, Chi obtains a precise hold on her characters through her familiarity with the life in which they live. Contemplation of ("living") is thus provoked by the strong impact of true reality she creates in the novella.