Beard Necessities (Winston Brothers, #7) asian literature

[ Read Audiobooks ] 紅高粱家族 [Hóng Gāoliáng Jiāzú]Author Mo Yan –

Spanning Three Generations, This Novel Of Family And Myth Is Told Through A Series Of Flashbacks That Depict Events Of Staggering Horror Set Against A Landscape Of Gemlike Beauty, As The Chinese Battle Both Japanese Invaders And Each Other In The Turbulent S A Legend In China, Where It Won Major Literary Awards And Inspired An Oscar Nominated Film, Red Sorghum Is A Book In Which Fable And History Collide To Produce Fiction That Is Entirely New And Unforgettable

10 thoughts on “紅高粱家族 [Hóng Gāoliáng Jiāzú]

  1. says:

    With this book I respectfully invoke the heroic, aggrieved souls wandering in the boundless bright red sorghum fields of my hometown As your unfilial son, I am prepared to carve out my heart, marinate it in soy sauce, have it minced and placed in three bowls, and lay it out as an offering in a field of sorghum Partake of it in good health Land is an altruistic asset It belongs to no one neither to its possessor nor to the ruthless capturer and not even to the industrious farmer who survives on its souvenirs apathetic to worldly narcissism, does it shines in its benevolent vitality If the land could speak it would spin tales of worship and treachery if it could cry it would wail for the corpses cuddled in its core and one day, the red sorghum would desists from transforming into a fiery liquid, shying away, fearing the stark resemblance of the scarlet wine to the gory mayhem on its very land Start skinning Fuck your ancestors and skin him shouted the interpreter The Japanese commander says to skin him If you don t do a good job of it, he ll have his dog tear your heart out. The knife in the lonesome butcher Sun Five s hand trembled as he begged Uncle Arhat s forgiveness for cleaning his blood soaked body with cold water skinning the man alive like a cattle suspended on a hook Sun Five breathed his last humanly air while he pierced the shining blade in Arhat s moist dermis and somewhere between heart wrenching screams and primitiveness of exposed tissue Sun entered sadistic chambers of hell Killing and getting killed became a way of life to the citizens of Gaomi Township Families slaughtered, men skinned alive, women raped, employed as sex slaves it was a hemorrhaging mockery of the very land that took pride in its humanity Death completes human suffering Love and hate amalgamates into a vaporizing sensation dissolving the final string of civilization life is overwhelmingly frightening Was Arhat heroic for enduring horrendous tortures for being a faithful servant to his birthing land The elongated sorghum stalks clapped through the swirling air welcoming the young, beautiful bride with the most exquisite golden lotuses lily feet as the sedan braved the bronzed sweaty shoulders of its dancing carriers Dai Fenglian was all of sixteen when her father married her of to Shan Bianlang , a rud leper for couple of mules As she traveled though the black soil of the sorghum field, the Northeastern Gaomi Township waited for its mistress A quintessentially docile daughter like many other Chinese girls Dai endured the agonizing foot binding ritual a cultural norm during feudalism, primed herself for a marriageable suitor and lived a sheltered life Dai was a fearless soul defying the authoritative patriarchal society She dared to love Yu Zhan ao the young sedan carrier took over the wine distillery after Shan s death, tricked Spotted Neck a local bandit from raping her and solely inspired the vengeance of Arhat s death by pledging to the God of Wine She gave her life a rebellious possibility charting its own consequences and eccentricities Was she heroic after all in her succinct existence Did her pleading to the heavens for her life make her any less a victor Is this death Will I have never again see this sky, this earth, this sorghum, this son, this lover who has led this troops into battle My heaven you gave me riches, you gave me thirty years of life as robust as red sorghum Heaven since you gave me all don t take it back now Forgive me, let me go Have I sinned Would it have been right to share my pillow with a leper and produce a misshapen, putrid monster to contaminate this beautiful world What is chastity then What is the correct path What is goodness What is evil You never told me, so I had to decide on my own I loved happiness, I loved strength, I loved beauty it was my body, and I used it as I thought fitting Sin doesn t frighten me, nor does punishment I m not afraid of your eighteen levels of hell I did what I had to do, I managed as I thought proper I fear nothing Dai saw the sorghum grow in her fields frolicking in the sun, standing tall in the rain and yielding the fiery scarlet wine after its harvest Were the chaste crimson sorghum stalks Gaomi s heroes The glorious history of man is filled with legends of dogs and memories of dogs despicable dogs, fearful dogs, pitiful dogs Yu Zhan ao was a man of many traits a gambler, murderer, adulterer, a lover, a father and eventually a hero in the anti Japanese revolution A bastard that he was dearly loved Douguan s mother and stepmother Yu Zhan ao was a man of integrity He obeyed Dai like a diligent soldier in the 1939 Black River Massacare to avenge the death of many of his people Yu was the triumphant idol now, one who lived like a pitiful dog nevertheless, fought like a ferocious animal claiming victories on his perished land But, the nakedness of his vacant heart froze his heroic endeavors in the frosty graves of his loved ones.Mo Yan s metaphorical saga nostalgically maps heroic virtues through the landscape of his hometown of Northeastern Gaomi Township a paradoxical ground that once flourished in prosperity of human grit and kindness was now a cauldron of heinous crimes howling at the ill fated blackened cinders Gaomi was plagued just like its former resident Shan Bianlang perishing in its own pitiful existence At one time the site had been a wasteland covered with brambles, underbrush and reeds it became a paradise for foxes and rabbits Then a few huts appeared and it became a haven for escaped murderers, drunks, gamblers, who built home, cultivated the land and turned it into a paradise for humans driving away the foxes and wild rabbits, who set howls of protest on the eve of their departure Now the village lay in ruins man created it and man had destroyed it It was now a sorrowful paradise, a monument to both grief and joy, built upon ruins The accentuated elegiac impression of the appalling devastation, reeks of imperialist nihilism irony of human ambitions We construct houses raise our families merely to see them being annihilated by outsiders sheltering their own Yu Zha ao questioning the dying Japanese combatant about the existence of his family and whether he loved them, and if so why would he guiltlessly slaughter their the Chinese populace kin cites the anguish of two men one on his death bed and the other fretting his own death slamming bullets in his wounded chest Mo Yan s symbolism of life and death surpasses the familiar grounds of human hostilities delineating the sarcasm of the rising red sun flying high on the Japanese flag whilst it eclipses bleeding the Chinese frontiers The red sorghum wine that once got its peculiar scrumptious taste from Yu s urine, now, seeps into the ground serenading its distillers Mo Yan bleeds his deepest sorrows through the verses blurring the lines between the past and present depicting the end of feudalism and the rise of Japanese imperialist incursion The laudable tale chronicled by Dai Fenglian s third generation embarks on the end of the Japanese invasion during WWII following an anti Japanese ambush by Commander Yu It spans from the 1929 the first year of Republic wandering all the way through the Cultural Revolution witnessing inhumane crimes of rape, slaughter and numerous horrendous war crimes Mo Yan underplays the political aspects of the Japanese Sino war putting human life on a valuable didactic dais He diligently scripts history through the eyes of his villagers and their kin the desolation of loss and the emptiness that chases a rewarded vengeance The veneration of the ancestors, as every descendant has a generation that endured darkness darker than hell The idea of colonial power act of imperialist pursuit of a nation, itself is a cowardly act Slaughtering the fearless and ambushing agricultural lands how can one take pride in destroying lives while trying to improvise their own And in the end, the acquisition of land is futile if all it gives are the graves of blameless souls The concluding passage of the novel delineates the narrator s resentment of importing hybrid sorghum into the Gaomi s fields spoiling the authenticity undesirable outsiders I speculate whether the Hainan sorghum stalks was an allegory to Japanese establishing naval bases on Hainan islands in South China Sea blocking outside communication in China necessary of arms import and related materials or was it to signify that bastard children of Japanese descents were undesirable in China The disdain of the vulgarity in hypocritical affection by the urban societal dogma shows the loss of harmony in acknowledging noble sacrifices Heroes are born, not made Heroic qualities flow through a person s veins like an undercurrent ready to be translated into action Yan s heroes are not Mao s preferred comrades but ordinary people who fight for their survival in most corrupt yet heroic ways They are unconventional, passionate, rebellious and brave they may not have inherited monetary affluences, but demonstrated mutinous arrogance and undying grit This was a great victory. China has 400 million people Japan has 100 million If 100 million of us fought them to death they d be wiped out, but there s still 300 million of us Dai who dared to love a bastard and stand up for her rights, Yu Zhan ao who never let his pitiful surrounding hamper his audacity, Passion who braved the horrendous sex crime, Douguan for being an honorable at a young age, Douguan s wife who got her first period while hiding in a cave embracing her death brother, Uncle Arhat for being loyal to his kin and enduring the agonizing torture, Sun Five for sacrificing his human existence for sullied lunacy and numerous other citizens of Gaomi Townships and above all the very earth where the deep rooted sorghum still bow to blazing sun all of them are heroes They rebelled against feudalism, poverty, love, abhorrence, imperialism and most of all human greed Approximating the demeanor of the bold sorghum stalks, they stood tall and when autumn befell they sacrificed their world saluting the heroic spirit of Gaomi Township .The yang of White Horse Mountain and the yin of the Black Water River, there is also a stalk of pure red sorghum which you much sacrifice wield it high as you re enter a world of dense brambles and wild predators It is your talisman, as well as you family s glorious totem and a symbol of the heroic spirit of Northeast Gaomi Township Yan s characters are not judged by their individual demeanor but by their cohesive valor Therefore, I chose to do the same I let go of all those prejudices of several Goami s residents and recognized the obvious The text is bounded by nameless heroes who drank their wines and never kowtowed to the Emperor in Japan s holy war New wine on the ninth of ninthGood wine from our labour, good wine If you drink our wine,You ll breathe well, you won t cough.If you drink our wine,You ll be well, your breath won t smell.If you drink our wine,You ll dare go through Qingsha Kou alone.If you drink our wine,You won t kowtow to the emperorOn the ninth of ninth you ll go with meGood wine, good wine, good wine the song taken from the namesake film by Zhang Yimou Every now and then when reading a remarkable book it becomes crucial to pen copious notes precious to be wasted on an epigrammatic appraisal, making it even harder to articulate the treasured sentiments So, without thinking much, I decided to pour my heart out, just as Mo Yan.

  2. says:

    For about eight years 1937 1945 , northeastern China was occupied by Japan This brutal invasion occurred coincidentally within the 23 years of the Chinese Civil War 1927 1950 For someone who might not be at least superficially familiar with the appalling conditions of these two wars of attrition fought upon a countryside already devastated by poverty and organized crime, it might appear that this book contains far too much gratuitous horror.But for someone like Mo Yan, who was born and raised in Shandong Province completely taken over by Japan , it might constitute family memory and cultural history.Red Sorghum is at least a work of historical fiction But it appears much than that.Told as a first person narrative, this tale betrays the nationalism, racism, and sexism of that fictional narrator, permanently marked by his times and traumatic heritage An individual of a later 20th century Chinese lifespan, this man s experience of that earlier time is found through flashbacks of family memory that play out in bits of seemingly disjointed montages But as the book progresses these bits assemble in the readers mind into a complete picture.The manner in which Mo Yan organizes these bits and pieces are masterfully presented so that the reader is at first transported by a poetic lyricism that emotionally tears the heart so, that the reader is now as deeply in love with the land and the region as would be a native The many characters are flawed but humanly seductive such that one becomes attached to them as though they are family despicable but endearing We become bonded to these folks and their homeland Mo Yan s prose is so well crafted that it is this beauty that enmesh us into this world We are now trapped.We are trapped because it is this region and these people who are doomed to participate in this particularly tragic and grotesque portion of 20th century history Mo Yan sees to it that we are complicit with them and experience with them this horror.And his very powerful prose that so beautifully describes each flower and star and fish and drop of dew also describes in awful detail every part of the horror these souls find themselves a part of.These details are not easy for a reader to experience And they last longer than many readers will want to endure But these Chinese protagonists represent real people who were subjected to much worse for decades.How would we react in such a time Would we be heroes Would we be bastards Would we even survive Who would we be afterwards As Second Grandma observes You revere heroes and loathe bastards, but who among us is not the most heroic and most bastardly This book is lyrically beautiful and mercilessly horrific But this story could be told in no other way.

  3. says:

    You can say I ve developed a pretty healthy obsession with Mo Yan s writing So healthy that I read his Nobel Prize acceptance speech which was beautifully crafted and long , I watched interviews of him with subtitles, I m going to get the movie Red Sorghum and watch it, just because it s after this book right here, not because I particulary enjoy Chinese movies, I ve started taking interest in China s development the whole of it, not just the last 150 years because their ancestry fascinates me, and above all that, I think I m ready to read his entire work As in, right now I m currently working on the first half of Big Breasts and Wide Hips and loving that one too Plot, let s first do a little plot summary China The Shandong family is a typical chinese rural family, following tradition, living the old life and not knowing of any other way to lead their existance Their story is told in the span of three generations, since the 1920s, with a lot happening until the 1930s, and then with some things happening up until the 1970s The official span is 1923 through to 1976, but I was never sure which were when, because it s extremelly non chronological which is apparently a known trait of Mo Yan s , and you keep getting confused as to what is what and who is who This family owned a distilery and made a type of alcohool called sorghum wine , out of the sorghum , which is a fodder plant, used to feed any type of livestock that might grow around Which, also, as you might have noticed from the title of this book, grows red in the Northeast Gaomi Township Afterwards, during the Second Sino Japanese War google it I found out its span 1937 to 1945 they were resistance fighters, trying to block the Japs plans in their area The minute you start reading it, you notice the writing If you re like me, and this isn t your first Mo Yan book, it seems almost weirdly familiar to once again drown in it It s tense, compact, it s his typical language, even though this is his first ever published novel and the one I read was his last It s written in first person, which I most commonly loathe, but once again I m proven that some geniuses people can excell at this job His narration is extremelly fluid and doesn t ever stop on the way or decide to become less entertaining it is a constant voice that you keep listening to throughout his book and it guides you through the maze that is Red Sorghum Speaking about Red the first half, it s everywhere On every page At every corner The rural background is made of it It s the area s God It almost seems like this book s Universe is formed of only it, and it s present wherever things happen good things, tragedies, deaths, marriages, history the sorghum is there to supervise the people Rarely do you see such a natural element take an important role in the story, but then comes Mo Yan, who makes almost a character out of this fodder plant and gives it the all knowing, all seeing, a little menacing role After a while, you get jaded and cloyed with it, but it nonetheless represents a powerfull image in the book About image the scenery is once again flawless Black earth, red sorghum, milky water, it all adds up to a story background that sometimes surpasses the story itself and makes it even rich when it doesn t, as it gives soul to not only the people, but the places it talks about I kept being mesmerized at how much of Mo Yan s work is based on his observation of the world around him and how detailed the reproduction of that world on paper is Clearly, one of his best traits as a writer is the ability to ignite in his reader s mind the blazing image of something, of anything his power to put his own view into his reader s eyes He was born to be a writer, if only for that Once again, his writing is also able to take on a very dark shape and tear the fictional world s seams apart Twenty something pages in, you get a scene in which a couple of horses are killed that s brutal And then, as a bonus, just a few pages later, you get the skinning of Luohan, at the orderd of the Japanese soldiers view spoiler That skinning is a bloody, messy job and one of the moments I realized Mo Yan really knows what he s talking about I pay a lot of attention to details, and because I read a lot of thriller themed books and lot of blood and gore stuff, I m able to really envision even the cruelest details of a killing scene The detail that really made it for me in here was that after Luohan gets the skin peeled off of his face, it s described as if he has little beads of blood on the surface of his raw meat, which is absolutely true when you skin something, and you skin them really well, like hunters do, blood doesn t pour out and cover everything, rather it trickles and forms little drops So, it s either that Mo Yan really did see a real man s skinning, or he did his research Thumbs up for that hide spoiler

  4. says:

    This is a family history, skillfully interlaced with beautiful descriptions of nature set against the horribly disturbing and shockingly realistic background of the atrocities committed by both sides during the war and occupation of China by the Japanese An astonishing book.

  5. says:

    I found Red Sorghum to be a scathing critique of the way the Chinese behaved during the Japanese occupation It was particularly interesting reading this and contrasting its depiction of the Chinese peasant rebels with Xiao Hong s in The Field of Life and Death Xiao Hong shows the peasant rebels as glorious, patriotic fighters This aspect of their character is not absent from Mo Yan s depictions, but he also goes further to show that not all of the rebels were acting out of patriotism Some were acting out of self interest, using the war and the weapons collected to become mini war lords and to build their own power base, often by attacking other rebel groups There is a magnificent chapter where Douguan and his father are trying to cull a pack of dogs that have turned to eating the corpses of their fellow villagers, too numerous to bury and lying where they were killed Three dogs, formerly members of Douguan s household, head the pack There is a power struggle between them, and one incites another to attack the third When the fight ends, the instigator turns on the two weakened fighters to finish them off and take control of the pack.In many ways, this is how the rebel groups behave Often, they will fight each other instead of fighting the Japanese In a later section of the novel, Mo Yan describes Douguan s father, by now the head of a powerful rebel group, holding a grand ceremonial funeral for his mother The other rebel groups in the area take the opportunity to attack and destroy Douguan s father s group, and all sides sustain heavy casualties leaving them ultimately open to Japanese attack Mo Yan nails down the comparison when he has a small rebel group, struggling to survive in winter, covering themselves in dog pelts to keep warm and as a form of disguise The strategy of instigating one enemy to fight one s other enemy would be instantly recognisable to many Chinese The strategy is part of one of the critical episodes during the chaos of the period of the warring kingdoms, most notably retold by the Chinese classic novel, The Romance of the Three Kingdoms From Wikipedia Ma Chao suspected that Cao Cao was planning to attack him, so he contacted Han Sui to form an alliance Cao Cao later followed Jia Xu s strategy to sow discord between Ma Chao and Han Sui and make them become suspicious of each other Taking advantage of the hostility between Ma Chao and Han Sui, Cao Cao launched an attack on the northwestern warlords and defeated them.Mo Yan thus imbues his story with the echoes and shadows of Chinese history and myth, slyly underlining the internal chaos as a recurrent theme of Chinese history However, the criticism does not stop there Mo Yan pointedly remarks that the rebel fighters also ate the dogs they killed and by so doing engage in a kind of proxy cannibalism the dogs having grown fat on human carrion The use of cannibalism recalls another classic of Chinese literature, Lu Xun s short story, The Diary of a Madman , where cannibalism is used as a symbol of Chinese society eating its own children and destroying itself His criticism is not simply then of the rebels as a particular group but also of the rebels behaviour continuing a self destructive, recurrent part of China s history, society, and culture What I found very intriguing, but have no real answer to, is an incident in the book which takes place during the Cultural Revolution It appeared to be odds with the rest of the narrative, except in theme Mo Yan tells the story of a poor man trying to get some food from a party cadre in winter The cadre is feasting on plenty, while this man, who has suffered his enmity, starves A servant of the cadre sends him away and he dies of exposure in the snow Other than a possible connection by theme, there seemed to be no other reason for the story to be in the novel But, if it is connected by theme, Mo Yan seems to be linking the behaviour of the lower level party cadres and perhaps by extension the party itself to the kind of destructive, opportunistic gratification engaged in by the rebels whose selfish acts he describes so well in this novel Powerfully told, this novel deserves multiple reads, and I will definitely revisit it in future, hopefully at least once in its original language.

  6. says:

    Part of my Fall 2017 Best Of Chinese Literature project here, and a cool list of books here.Here s the greatest novel ever written about sexy hot grandmas This lady s well, it s his mom really The book is narrated by the grandson, but his dad is the protagonist, soit s complicated I read this because it s about three generations of Chinese people, so I thought it might give me like a panoramic view of 20th century China, right But it s really mostly entirely about 1939, the grandparents and their young son It s pretty focused This is red sorghum Most of the book takes place in and around these fields You can make booze with it but I can t find any.In 1939 the Japanese occupied China, did you know that I forget sometimes, like, for me World War II is mostly about Hitler, but there was all kinds of other stuff going on So this book, which was written by Nobel Prize winner Mo Yan and is very famous in China, takes place in the middle of that occupation as everyone fights everyone Japanese troops, splintered groups of Chinese soldiers, even bandit gangs, all battle for power in the author s home township of Gaomi, which is here The grandfather, Yu Zhan ao, is the leader of one of those bandit gangs He s a murderer and a rapist, although the grandmother was super into it so maybe it doesn t count He s a hero, too It s complicated He can shoot seven coins off a table perfectly, like a badass this is called the seven plum blossom skill, just like in kung fu movies where dudes learn awesome tricks and give them awesome names.It s all extremely violent, so brace yourself for that A guy gets skinned alive almost right away It seemed like it was going on for page after page I wouldn t know because I seriously didn t read it, as I get older I m finding myself unable to handle some of this stuff, I know, it s pathetic Later on somebody s gonna kill a baby It s all told in sortof a detached, fableish style at times I was reminded a little of One Hundred Years Of Solitude You get the idea that maybe the narrator himself can t process the awful pain inflicted on his ancestors he s talking about his parents, his grandparents, their friends so he masks it with this light tone.But it s gripping, too Aside from a long, probably metaphorical chapter about fighting a pack of dogs around halfway through, it s riveting It s easy to follow even though Yan skips around chronologically you re invested in the characters it s a terrific book What was I talking about Right, dude s mom He has a sex dream about her, lol That s one sexy grandma.

  7. says:

    I m aware that I ought to have liked this Nobel prize winner, world literature, etc But the I read it and I read to the very end, albeit in fits and starts for the last 50 or so pages the less I appreciated its faux mythologising stance, its glorification of violence, its utter lack of psychological I won t say depth, because myth doesn t have depth, it just provides us with a terminology for depth let s say, credibility Oh yes, repeating words sorghum an embarrassingly high number of times, with red and green not far behind does not make them symbolic it makes them irritating To suggest that this has the slightest thing in common with the morally complex work of, say, Kundera, is absurd I ve given it two stars because the translation has a nice clunky foreign feel to it, which isn t a quality I normally appreciate but that,in this case, served as a distraction from the rivers of blood two other massively over used nouns And don t get me started on that patronising colonialist term world literature World music was bad enough

  8. says:

    This novel removes any doubt as to whether Mo Yan deserved the Nobel Prize for Literature It is complex, bawdy, earthy, poetic, wallows in dirt and blood, and soars to magnificent poetic heights Besides language so rich you can chew on it, and the deeply imagined characters, the greatest appeal of the novel, to me, were the many daring risks the author takes with form and structure.If you ve seen the movie, you ve seen only the thin crust of the first two sections of the novel, cut apart and reassembled to tell a chronological story The novel consists of several intertwining stories of love, resistance, violence and chaos in rural China during the Japanese invasion and occupation, and offers probably the best impression I ve read of the near incomprehensible bedlam caused by competing armies and militias across China during that time.The narrative leaps all over the place in time, back three years, ahead twenty years, yesterday, tomorrow and today, with storylines and characters overlapping and diverging, sometimes within just a few short pages, without any obvious time markers Often a storyline circles back, 150 pages later, to where it left off Yet this comes across as entirely natural, the way an oral storyteller would present it.Which is how it is told, in seldom used first person omniscient, in which the narrator the child and grandchild of the main characters leaps into the thoughts of each person and even a few dogs.Other reviewers have complained about how often the words red sorghum appear, almost on every page of the book, sometimes 5 or 10 times on a page Even this I found hauntingly effective, painting an impressionistic view of the landscape To these characters, the vast flat panorama of fields of head high grain extending toward every horizon, are all they know, all that sustains them and buffers them from the world Red sorghum itself is in fact a metaphor for every aspect of their lives.I m not a great fan of Mo Yan s later novels employing magical realism, but Red Sorghum is fully rooted in almost painfully descriptive realism I also don t normally care for the translations of Howard Goldblatt, since his prolific translations of nearly every major contemporary Chinese writer tend to end up with the same narrative tone, regardless of who the author is But Red Sorghum is one of his earliest translations, and he clearly sweated blood in rendering this great work into mouth watering English.For those new to Mo Yan, The Garlic Ballads is probably an easier entry point, since it s shorter and less ambitious, yet beautifully, achingly sad Red Sorghum throws the reader many challenges, but in the end it is an unforgettable work.

  9. says:

    1 History obstructs the normally amoral play of human desire.2 The magico historico real formula will ALWAYS work in the hands of a good writer Red Sorghum can stand beside Tin Drum and Midnight s Children without feeling inferior.2.5 Or maybe it is a little inferior For there are some loose ends and some unworthy digressions here Some side stories that are forgotten But the element that leads to these flaws is also the one that germinates the big pay offs namely the un novel like feel of it all Both Tin Drum and Midnight s Children can be called messy novels, where the circus of history tangles with personalities, producing a picaresque delight Red Sorghum does the same, but it is beyond messy and beyond novel.3 The Chinese suffered greatly during the Second World War But their resistance to the Japanese, although fractured and self immolating, was the only resistance against an occupying fascist force that survived throughout the war And won The Chinese people should have taught the French how to resist.4 The writing here focuses too much on color One grows indifferent to red sorghum, blue sky, red earth, crimson sky, etc etc In the background of your mind, though, collectively, these phrases build an effect that make you consistently place all action in a vivid landscape.5 Symbolically speaking, the Red in Red Sorghum is not much different from the Blood in Blood Meridian It designates both violence and natural beauty But it has affirmations of life than the Cormac McCarthy work.6 The quantity of violence in Red Sorghum is tantamount to Blood Meridian Or even 2666 by Roberto Bolano But violence in fiction is largely an issue of style Because violence demands description, it allows an author to indulge himself, and the resulting glee with which authors paint violence is seldom missed on serious pages Mo Yan strives to find comedy in violence, Cormac McCarthy tries to remove it from all moral dogma, Roberto Bolano gives it a benumbing power by presenting it in a near bullet pointed monotony There are many ways to kill man, literature wise.7 I do not much appreciate Herta Muller making the kind of fuss she made about Mo Yan s winning the prize The controversy about Mo Yan s Noble worthiness is due to his so called collusion with acceptance of the current Communist empire Never because of literary quality If one wants to, one can sense both here He is careful not to offend anyone, by making his setting too rural and his timing pre revolution I ve to read from him to truly decide if this diligence has been maintained throughout a career But even then, I don t find any blame in it, literature wise.

  10. says:

    The book has a few elements that distinguishes it from just any other book One of this is the chromatic theme The Red Sorghum is a very bright and colorful book It s filled with blood red, loathsome green and night black images On every page i think there is a sunset or a sunrise that bleeds the redest light ever depicted, a wound that leeks black blood and a river or a lake where the water is grotesquely green and it necessarily stinks Throughout the entire book, red is the color that represents the purpose, the good sense, the hope, the meaning of life At the end, red is replaced by the lack of value a hybrid variety of sorghum , by the loosing of hope and of meaning, yet these new situations have no color.The power of this book is just like the power of the sun, of a volcano or of some kind of an explosion It blasted me away so many times, that in the end I had the sesnsation that I was ripped from a magic world Even if it is not the kind of story you would tell your children, this book definitely reminded me of the stories I used to read as a child That felling I used to have while going through the pages of Niels Holgersen, Alice in Wonderland or Harap Alb feeling that I considered to be long dead was once again resurrected in me by Mo Yan It s quite incredible the way he gets to drag the reader through the troubled times of the beginning and the middle of the 20th century China China itself is huge Well, The Red Sorghum is even bigger It is larger then life We get knocked not always in a nice way by a multitude of sensations, images, smells and other sense attacking incentives The chaotic chronological line of the book is dazzling Mo Yan uses a unique way to tell the story by breaking the timeline with the characters memoires of a quite distant past or of a future moment if related to the time of the story that occurs in the writers mind This creates a story that runs through time like desperate snake in a muddy water I can only recommend it to everybody.