Author sketches out a different side of his skills

WHILE most writers rely on words to create images and mind pictures, some writers can do both.

Jin Yucheng, author of the award-winning novel “Blossoms,” or “Fan Hua,” has shown off his drawing skills with illustrations of longtang (alleyway) life in his book.

For most people, the real Shanghai lies in its lively longtang life, but sadly mass dismantlement is going on in recent years.

Now an exhibition of illustrations from “Blossoms” is underway at the Old China Hand Style bookstore.

For the next two months, visitors to the bookstore get to see some of Jin’s original drawings, featuring vivid images of the daily lives of ordinary Shanghai people living in the alleyway block between Shaanxi Road N. and Changle Road, where the story is set.

Be it a bird’s-eye view of the neighborhood, a scene of everyday shopping in a grocery store, a gathering of people at the barber’s or an elevation detail of a typical shikumen (stone-gate) house, the illustrations try to provide a better understanding of the book and its characters living through the changes of Shanghai over the past 40 years.

Focusing on 100 characters, “Blossoms,” written in the Shanghai dialect, traverses two timelines — from the 1960s to the mid-1970s, including the end of the “cultural revolution” (1966-76); and from the 1980s to the start of the 21st century. As the two periods alternate, the story unveils the two faces of Shanghai — the old and the new.

The profundity of the novel helped it win the 2015 Mao Dun Literature Prize, the most prestigious literature prize in China for novels.

Date: Through June 30, 10am-11pm

Venue: Old China Hand Style

Address: 374 Shaanxi Rd N.