Author: Gao Xingjian
Original language: English
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. A young couple on honeymoon visit a beautiful temple up in the mountains, and spend the day intoxicated by the tranquillity of the setting; a swimmer is paralysed by a sudden cramp and finds himself stranded far out to sea on a cold autumn day; a man reminisces about his beloved grandfather, who used to make his own fishing rods from lengths of crooked bamboo straightened over a fire! Blending the crisp immediacy of the present moment with the soft afterglow of memory and nostalgia, these stories hum with simplicity and wisdom – and will delight anyone who loved Gao’s bestselling novels, Soul Mountain and One Man’s Bible.
These six stories by Nobel Prize winner Gao Xingjian transport the reader to moments where the fragility of love and life, and the haunting power of memory, are beautifully unveiled. In “The Temple,” the narrator’s acute and mysterious anxiety overshadows the delirious happiness of an outing with his new wife on their honeymoon. In “The Cramp,” a man narrowly escapes drowning in the sea, only to find that no one even noticed his absence. In the title story, the narrator attempts to relieve his homesickness only to find that he is lost in a labyrinth of childhood memories.
Everywhere in this collection are powerful psychological portraits of characters whose unarticulated hopes and fears betray the never-ending presence of the past in their present lives.
“Beautiful… Suffused with the melancholy of nostalgia.” – Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
“[Gao’s] narrators walk as if in a dream through a private landscape of memory and sensation.” – Boston Globe
“Precisely detailed and delicately suggestive: the best work of Gao’s yet to appear in English translation.” – Kirkus Reviews
“Beautiful.” – Village Voice
“These spare, evocative pieces… offer a sample of Nobel-winner Gao’s sharp, poetic early work.” – Publishers Weekly
“Observant… For variety of content, stylistic experimentation, graceful language, and poignant insight, Xingjian is a writer who does it all beautifully.” – Booklist