To travel through these stories is to cross a landscape of stunning beauty and terrific cruelty, where expectations are subverted, where moral certainties are shattered, where gorgeously wrought surfaces beguile at the same time that acts of incredible brutality horrify.
His work represents a sophisticated and often disturbing revolution in the Chinese literary tradition, reminiscent of the fiction of modernists like Kafka, Kawabata, Borges, and Robbe-Grillet, but drawing inspiration from several strains of traditional Chinese narrative as well.
This is the first collection of short fiction by Yu Hua to appear in English. It takes us on a haunting and harrowing journey from classical China through the Cultural Revolution and into the new era of economic reform, exploding along the way our preconceived notions of what Chinese literature and culture are all about in the s. That the concept and history of punishment should figure heavily in the artistic sensibility of a young Chinese writer who grew up during the Cultural Revolution is hardly surprising.
The characters in both the title story and in "" are scholars specializing in the history of punishment through the ages, and an ancient fortune teller in another story is said to have achieved near-immortality through the deaths of his first four children.
Personality and feeling are almost secondary in Yu Hua's cruel world, a world dominated by numerology, prophecy, and the faceless power of the state.
Yu is best known in this country for his Song yu hua our times dating Lifetimes, or more precisely for the moving film adaptation of it, the Cannes Film Festival-winning To Live. This collection of stories is marked by scenes of jarring brutality that may discomfit American readers. None of the violence is extraneous, though; juxtaposed with passages of exquisite grace and layers of symbolic meaning, it creates a subtle reading of the harshness of contemporary China.
In "On the Road at Eighteen," a young man finds out what life is truly like while walking down a deserted country road. In the title story, the past catches up with "the stranger" in the form of an ultimate punishment. Yu's style is somewhat detached, and Jones's stately translation preserves that quality, but that only makes the barbarity more noticeable.
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Page 1 of 1 Start over Page 1 of 1. Legends of the Condor Heroes Vol. Raise the Red Lantern: The Sea of Regret: Fiction from Modern China Paperback: University of Hawaii Press May 1, Language: I'd like to read this book on Kindle Don't have a Kindle? Chance to win daily prizes. Get ready for Holiday shopping with the Amazon App. Share your thoughts with other customers.
Write a customer review. Showing of 1 reviews. Top Reviews Most recent Top Reviews. There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later. Book arrived in promptly and in excellent condition--even got an unexpected bonus, since this book appears to be autographed by the author I can't be sure--the dedication is written in chinese and the signature is somewhat ambiguous.
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