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[Life and Death Are Wearing Me Out] di Yan…
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[Life and Death Are Wearing Me Out] (originale 2006; edizione 2006)

di Yan Mo (Autore)

UtentiRecensioniPopolaritàMedia votiConversazioni / Citazioni
553736,854 (3.79)1 / 98
Stripped of his possessions and executed as a result of Mao's Land Reform Movement in 1948, benevolent landowner Ximen Nao finds himself endlessly tortured in Hell before he is systematically reborn on Earth as each of the animals in the Chinese zodiac.
Titolo:[Life and Death Are Wearing Me Out]
Autori:Yan Mo (Autore)
Info:Mai Tian/Tsai Fong Books (2006), 464 pages
Collezioni:La tua biblioteca

Informazioni sull'opera

Le sei reincarnazioni di Ximen Nao di Mo Yan (2006)

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One of the most entertaining reads I've had in a long time. It reminds me of "Midnight's Children" by Salman Rushdie. That one I read almost 40 years ago so I suppose I was ready for another to equal it. ( )
  Phil-James | Oct 1, 2021 |
My story begins on January 1, 1950. In the two years prior to that, I suffered cruel torture such as no man can imagine in the bowels of hell.

So begins a dizzying journey of literary ingenuity, effortlessness and sheer mastery of style and narrative. Mo Yan’s Life and Death Are Wearing Me Out (2006) is a thoughtful voyage deep into the self, a kind of inverse Christmas Carol (1843), a chronicle of the times equal to One Hundred Years of Solitude (1967) of such epic complexity it’s unfathomable that Mo Yan[1] wrote this masterpiece by hand in mere 42 days.[2] I read it in 18 days, so it took him only twice the time to literally put pen to paper.

What can I say, I’m hooked. I don’t care what other books I might have had the craving for, they’re queued as of now. What I’m going to read is more Mo Yan. Two days after finishing Life and Death I’m already halfway through Sandalwood Death (2001) and loving every word of it. You know that feeling one everything that clicks? It’s glorious, and it’s a glorious thing to be in the beginning of my journey and knowing that there are six more novels and a collection of short stories to read after Sandalwood Death.

I think I’m going to have to revisit Gao Xingjian after Mo, since there is a similar burning love I remember feeling toward Soul Mountain (1989). The thing about this book is that Mo Yan is simply so brilliant a writer that it seems he throws everything at you and, contrary to all expectations, makes it all stick. It is gruesome, funny, beautiful, grotesque, philosophical, mundane, historical, fantastical, depressing and entertaining all at the same time. Not only does his literary genius shine through, it’s also a very deep commitment to observing humanity and the silly things we do. Mo Yan is able to write things that bring out laughs, but at the same time he’s able to make us laugh in such a way that reminds of the undeniable hardness of life, like bedrock, beneath the surface. He hides the tragic in the comic, and vice versa, alighting both processes with his immaculate style:

“‘Party Secretary Hong, from this day forward, all boars are my father, and all sows are my mother!’”

“That’s what I like to hear!” Hong said joyfully. “Young people who view our pigs as their mother and fathers are exactly what we need.”

He’s also able to change register in an instant, moving with ease between the sentimental, poetic, the sentimentally poetic, matter-of-fact and comic in a single paragraph. He never throws the other registers to the gutter, his intentions are not mean; instead, he uses them like a conductor uses different instruments, allowing each their existence and focus in equal measure.

There are times when I’m simply in awe of some people’s talent. Mo Yan is such a person, and I’m glad we have a dedicated, brilliant translator in Howard Goldblatt who’s making Mo Yan’s work come alive in the English language.

After reading Life and Death I have been baffled by comments in the media that describe Mo Yan as a sort of minion of the Chinese government. I mean, what a small miracle that a work like this exists. Really! In the words of Mr Goldblatt,

No one who has read this novel, which won the inaugural Newman Prize for Chinese, could ever, in good conscience, characterize Mo Yan as a government stooge.[3]


[1] Mo Yan is actually a pen name, which means “don’t speak”. It is, however, treated as a name with both a first and last name. In China, the last name always comes first as in Cao Xueqin, Gao Xingjian, Wong Kar-Wai, and so on.

[2] Jim Leach, The Real Mo Yan, retrieved December 10th, 2014.

[3] , retrieved December 12th, 2014.

11 December,
( )
  Thay1234 | May 27, 2020 |
There are a lot of more interesting ways to learn about recent Chinese history. ( )
  Lindoula | Sep 25, 2017 |
There are a lot of more interesting ways to learn about recent Chinese history. ( )
  akswede | Oct 14, 2013 |
Wonderfully funny book ( )
  wbwilburn5 | Jan 28, 2013 |
After finally making it through Life and Death — a battle as hard-fought as the one between humans and pigs in the middle of the novel — I’m not able to say that I enjoyed the book, though parts of it kept me engaged enough to consider picking up another of Mo Yan’s works…someday. Maybe.

» Aggiungi altri autori (8 potenziali)

Nome dell'autoreRuoloTipo di autoreOpera?Stato
Yan, Moautore primariotutte le edizioniconfermato
Goldblatt, HowardTraduttoreautore secondarioalcune edizioniconfermato
Liberati, PatriziaTraduttoreautore secondarioalcune edizioniconfermato

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Wikipedia in inglese (2)

Stripped of his possessions and executed as a result of Mao's Land Reform Movement in 1948, benevolent landowner Ximen Nao finds himself endlessly tortured in Hell before he is systematically reborn on Earth as each of the animals in the Chinese zodiac.

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Arcade Publishing

2 edizioni di questo libro sono state pubblicate da Arcade Publishing.

Edizioni: 1611451825, 1611454271

Hachette Book Group

Una edizione di quest'opera è stata pubblicata da Hachette Book Group.

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