a poetic journey Sep 1, 2007
Soul Mountain has elements of a spiritual journey and a cultural exploration. Translating such a work from Chinese is no doubt a challenge. As a result, much of the language doesn?t flow. At times, the conversations between the speaker and these ghost-like female figures seem almost adolescent. The story and imagery manage to get through. The villages and people that turn up create the world outside, while the author?s constant musings adds more depth, as well as illuminating his internal cosmos. It is sometimes difficult to separate actual characters from avatars, but that mystic quality gives the book its flavor. The power of the Yangtze, the dust of the country roads, the quaint, strained apartment of a girl?all are very clearly conveyed. It is a story like no other. Portions do slow down with the avatars throwing fits or whining or yelling, but the remainder is very good. The cover painting nearly captures the essence itself.