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review 2016-06-23 05:14
Red Sorghum, by Mo Yan
Red Sorghum - Mo Yan,Howard Goldblatt

Our narrator’s grandparents and father are legendary. Family members and friends tell stories of how the narrator’s grandmother helped defeat the Japanese or how his grandfather was king of bandits in Shandong Province. The story of the narrator’s family is the story of China in the twentieth century: tragic, violent, and haunting. In Mo Yan’s Red Sorghum, originally serialized in China in the 1980s and later translated into English by Howard Goldblatt, the narrator tells us the real stories behind the legends...


Read the rest of my review at A Bookish Type.

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review 2015-09-21 05:50
short stories are not my thing
Shifu, You'll Do Anything for a Laugh - Mo Yan,Howard Goldblatt

Reading this was a good exercise in expanding my personal, hopefully not too xenophobic, horizons. This collection of short stories had an interesting preface by the author, a mini autobiography describing his passion and inspiration for writing. He describes his early childhood during the cultural revolution and how he developed a resilience to adversity. He also describes the fact that he has no formal training, let alone Western influences on his writing. This is important, because you really must do a mental reset in order to appreciate and hopefully enjoy the stories.

All the stories I appreciated. Only a couple of them did I actually enjoy. In several cases, I didn't get the meaning or symbolism. I'm not a short story person. Add to that the fact that several had a magical realism flavor, and my enjoyment was destined to be an uphill battle. All the stories seemed to end abruptly. Needless to say, this was not my reading happy place.

Thoughts on the individual stories...

Shifu, You'll Do Anything for a Laugh. A laid off worker gets creative in funding his retirement. This was mostly light hearted, but did have a few dark moments.

Man and Beast - I'll be honest, I didn't get this one. A cave, a fox, Japanese, rape.

Soaring - a wife bird gets shot with an arrow and killed. I am sure there is meaning in the perils of freedom.

Iron Child - Kids eat iron and turn into iron... iron zombies? This story might be making some sort of statement about state run industry, poverty and neglect. Or it might just be a fanciful play on a childhood memory of feasting on coal.

The Cure. This story was creepy and disturbing. It featured public execution and organ harvesting. Corruption too, with a father offering the services of his 18 year old daughter to a public official, o_O. IDGI

Love Story - This one had the best line in the entire book... Tall girl, short boy — tits in the face, what a joy. What I want to know is, did this rhyme in Mandarin?

Shen Garden - journey to a mysterious garden, meaning lost on me.

Abandoned Child. Well that was depressing. This story tackles ham fisted one-child policy as well as the deeply ingrained misogyny of Chinese culture.

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review 2015-08-02 11:47
Frog by Mo Yan
Frog - Mo Yan,Howard Goldblatt

I'm officially calling it quits with this one. I've been piking it up and putting it back down for over four months now. I think it's just a case of the author's writing style not fitting with my taste. The description grabbed my attention right away. I love historical fiction featuring strong woman who make it even when all the odds are staked against them. I knew we'd hear Gugu's story through her nephew, but I thought her story would be the bulk of the book. Up to 37% (where I'm DNFing), we do get to see parts of Gugu story. However, once you really start getting into it, Tadpole will take over again. I already own another book or two by Mo Yan, but now I'm not sure I'll read them. 


**Thank you PENGUIN GROUP Viking for providing this in exchange for an honest review**

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text 2014-10-08 14:53
Meine Bücher im September
Der Überdruss - Mo Yan
Die Auserwählten - Im Labyrinth (Maze Runner, #1) - James Dashner,Anke Caroline Burger
Die Auserwählten - In der Brandwüste (Maze Runner, #2) - James Dashner,Anke Caroline Burger
Eine Tiefe am Himmel - Vernor Vinge
Sonnenfinsternis - Arthur Koestler
Outpost by Baker, Adam (2011) Paperback - Adam Baker

Was ich im September 2014 gelesen habe, könnt ihr auf meinem anderen Blog lesen: Denkpass.de - Bücher im September. Mit dabei waren:



Mit sechs Büchern kann ich gut leben pro Monat. Wenn da so gute Bücher drunter sind wie in diesem Monat, noch viel mehr.


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review 2014-10-06 00:00
Klan czerwonego sorga
Klan czerwonego sorga - Mo Yan Trudna książka, czyta się ja powoli, a obszerne opisy wszystkiego dają się w kość. Można jednak przywyknąć, a wtedy czytelnikowi ukazuje się piękny, okrutny i skomplikowany świat wielopokoleniowej rodziny. Przeczytać warto.
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