Author: Gao Xingjian
Translator: Sang-hae Lee
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|>>>This book is written in Korean only.
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About This Book
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 cancer falsely, 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
Lingshan, the "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
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