A collection of six unforgettable stories from Nobel laureate Gao Xingjian. Dealing with Gao's trademark themes of relationships, family, the political scene in China and exploration of the self, these stories are by turns moving, beautiful and thought-provoking. With the exception of 'In an Instant', all the stories were written in China in the ...
A collection of six unforgettable stories from Nobel laureate Gao Xingjian. Dealing with Gao's trademark themes of relationships, family, the political scene in China and exploration of the self, these stories are by turns moving, beautiful and thought-provoking. With the exception of 'In an Instant', all the stories were written in China in the early 1980s and published in Chinese in a collection called Gei wo laoye mai yugan (Buying a Fishing Rod for My Grandfather) by Lianhe Press in Taipei 1989. 'In an Instant' was written in Paris in October 1990 but not published until 1996 in the collection Zhoumo sichongzhou, after Soul Mountain had been published in early 1990. This is the perfect first taste of the work of Gao Xingjian - short, sweet and highly accessible - something for those who have heard about the author but are unsure where to start.
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Publishers Weekly, 2004-01-12 Six stories, published in Chinese between 1983 and 1991, offer a sample of Nobel-winner Gao's sharp, poetic early work. In "The Temple," the unnamed narrator and his new bride alter their honeymoon plans to pause in a provincial town. Though the two are blissfully happy, they find the town's inhabitants and its Temple of Perfect Benevolence vaguely disquieting. A muted reference to the Cultural Revolution ("It all felt so different from the time when we were graduates sent to work in the countryside") may explain the unease. Gao (Soul Mountain; One Man's Bible) explores the simultaneous enormity and anonymity of death in "The Accident," when a man on a bicycle with an attached baby buggy rides, either carelessly or deliberately, into a bus. The man is killed, but his young son survives; a crowd forms, passing around rumors, while the cops take away the bus driver and the blood on the road congeals. The title story employs collages of memory and haunting daydreams to mourn the destruction of the narrator's grandfather's village. A "sparkling lake" has been paved over, and the river where the narrator and his grandfather used to fish is dry: "The sand murmurs that it wants to swallow everything. It has swallowed the riverbank and now wants to swallow the city along with your childhood memories and mine." Gao intends his stories to reveal "the actualization of language and not the imitation of reality"-storytelling, in other words, is not his goal. These spare, evocative pieces bear that out; often the lovely prose (nicely translated by Lee) is reward enough. (Feb. 6) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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