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Buying a Fishing Rod for my Grandfather
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From China's first-ever winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature comes an exquisite new book of fictions, none of which has ever been published before in English. / Gao's Soul Mountain became a bookshop bestseller on B-format paperback publication -- selling 93,000 net units to date. / Gao's books are bestsellers in all languages, in Europe, Asia and the Americas; he has a claim on being the most commercially successful Nobel winner of recent times.

About the Author

Gao Xingjian was born in 1940 in Jiangxi province in eastern China, and has lived in France since 1987. Gao is considered an artistic innovator in his native China, both in the visual arts and in literature. He is that rare multi-talented artist who excels as a novelist, playwright, essayist, director and painter. Two novels, the internationally best-selling Soul Mountain and One Man's Bible, are available in English from Flamingo, as well as a volume of his art entitled Return to Painting.

Reviews

A Nobel prize winner delivers six short stories. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

Praise for Buying a Fishing Rod for My Grandfather: 'Lyrical and plain, descriptively compelling and as brilliantly ordinary as Chekhov's stories of the 1890s, the six stories in this collection beautifully demonstrate Gao's proposition that fiction is 'the actualisation of language and not the imitation of reality.' His writing, here as elsewhere, is simple and profound.' Daily Telegraph 'Xingjian is an author who can communicate depths of feeling through snatches of conversation and single, well-chosen images ... Achieves the understated, expressive concision that defines China's singular contribution to modern literature ' Guardian 'Like the expansive, ink-washed abstract paintings reproduced in his recently published monograph, Return to Painting, Xingjian's stories brim with sensual clarity that has as its counterpoint an irresistible psychological confusion.' January Magazine Praise for Gao Xingjian: 'Brilliant and poetic, keen and original ! Gao's ambition is to transcend the specifics of time and place, to write a meditation on literature itself and its ability to reveal the raging, brutal, brilliant beast that is mankind itself ! [His work] burns with a powerfully individualistic fire of intelligence and depth of feeling.' New York Times

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) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

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