Winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature 2000. Part travel diary, part philosophy, part love story, 'Soul Mountain' is an elegant, unforgettable novel that journeys deep into the heart of modern-day China. In 1982 Chinese playwright, novelist and artist Gao Xingjian was diagnosed with lung cancer, the very disease that had killed his father. For ...
Winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature 2000. Part travel diary, part philosophy, part love story, 'Soul Mountain' is an elegant, unforgettable novel that journeys deep into the heart of modern-day China. In 1982 Chinese playwright, novelist and artist Gao Xingjian was diagnosed with lung cancer, the very disease that had killed his father. For six weeks Gao inhabited a transcendental state of imminent death, treating himself to the finest foods he could afford while spending time reading in an old graveyard in the Beijing suburbs. But a secondary examination revealed there was no cancer - he had won a 'reprieve from death' and had been thrown back into the world of the living. Faced with a repressive cultural environment and the threat of a spell in a prison farm, Gao fled Beijing. He travelled first to the ancient forests of central China and from there to the east coast, passing through eight provinces and seven nature reserves, a journey of fifteen thousand kilometres over a period of five months. The result of this epic voyage of discovery is 'Soul Mountain'. Interwoven into this picaresque journey are myriad stories and countless memorable characters - from venerable Daoist masters and Buddhist monks and nuns to mythical Wild Men; deadly Qichun snakes to farting buses. Conventions are challenged, preconceptions are thwarted and the human condition, with all its foibles and triumphs, is laid bare.
Good. 2001-Paperback-Used-Good--Shows some shelf-wear. May contain old price stickers or their residue, inscriptions or dedications from previous owners in first few pages and remainder marks.-. -Hall Street Books proudly ships from Brooklyn, NY. All orders are processed and shipped within 24 business hours, Mon-Fri. Expedited shipping and tracking available within the US. Hall Street's No-Worry guarantee lets you buy with confidence!
Fair. A readable copy only. All pages and the cover are intact, may not include dust jacket. Pages may include considerable notes in pen or have highlighting. Possible ex library copy. May not contain accessories.
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.
Publishers Weekly, 2000-12-11 Gao Xingjian was almost unknown in this country when he won this year's Nobel prize. Gao, who lives in exile in Paris, was embroiled in controversy in China in the 1980s because of his plays. This novel is his largest and perhaps most personal work. Around the time Gao's plays were arousing controversy, he was diagnosed with lung cancerDfalsely, as it turned out. The "detestable omniscient self" of the Gao-like narrator sharing these circumstances goes partly underground by getting out of Beijing and going to various underdeveloped regions of China. Officially, Gao is gathering folk songs and tales, but underneath that task we discern a desire to reconnect with the fate of his family, which, like so many others, was fragmented by the revolution. The book itself is narrated in two voices: a rational first person "I" and an emotional second person "you." Gao stays with park rangers, old friends and Daoist monks. The "you" wanders a more fantastic, otherworldly Chinese landscape, looking for LingshanDthe "soul mountain" of the title. To the second person is allotted a series of frenzied sexual encounters with a series of rebellious women. Within this baggy structure, there are repeated memories of the horrors of the Cultural Revolution, episodes concerning "wild men" (the Chinese equivalent of yeti), reflections on China's environmental degradation and comments on old ruins. Seeking out old singers and shamans like a connoisseur of extinct cultures, Gao has created a sui generis work, one that, in combining story, reminiscence, meditation and journalism, warily comes to terms with the shocks of both Maoism and capitalism. Agent, Georges Borchardt. (Dec) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
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