Soul Mountain

Soul Mountain
Gao, Xingjian; Lee, Mabel (Translator)

In 1983 Chinese playwright, critic, fiction writer, and painter Gao Xingjian (pronounced gow shing-jen) was diagnosed with lung cancer and faced imminent death.' But six weeks later, a second examination revealed there was no cancer -- he had won "a reprieve from death" and had been thrown back into the world of the living.' Faced with a repressive cultural environment and the threat of a spell in a prison farm, Gao fled Beijing.' He traveled to the remote mountains and ancient forests of Sichuan in southwest China and from there back to the east coast, a journey of fifteen thousand kilometers over a period of five months.' The results of this epic voyage of discovery is "Soul Mountain. A bold, lyrical, prodigious novel, "Soul Mountain probes the human soul with an uncommon directness and candor.' Interwoven with the myriad of stories and countless memorable characters -- from venerable Daosit masters and Buddhist nuns to mythical Wild Men, deadly Qichun snakes, and farting buses-- is the narrator's poignant inner journey and search for freedom. Fleeing the social conformity required by the Communist government, he wanders deep into the regions of the Qiang, Miago, and Yi peoples located on the fringes of Han Chinese civilization and discovers a plethora of different traditions, history, legends, folk songs, and landscapes. Slowly, with the help of memory, imagination, and sensory experience, he reconstructs his personal past. He laments t

Based on the author's own life, this novel is about a Chinese man who gets a reprieve from cancer and travels around seeking connections with his past. (2000)
Call Number: 
F Gao
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