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四书 Sìshū From master storyteller Yan Lianke winner of the prestigious Franz Kafka Prize and a finalist for the Man Booker International Prize The Four Books is a powerful daring novel of the dog eat dog psychology inside a labor camp for intellectuals during Mao’s Great Leap Forward A renowned author in China and among its most censored Yan’s mythical sometimes surreal tale cuts to the bone in its portrayal of the struggle between authoritarian power and man’s will to prevail against the darkest odds through camaraderie love and faithIn the ninety ninth district of a sprawling reeducation compound freethinking artists and academics are detained to strengthen their loyalty to Communist ideologies Here the Musician and her lover the Scholar—along with the Author and the Theologian—are forced to carry out grueling physical work and are encouraged to inform on each other for dissident behavior The prize winning the chance at freedom They're overseen by preadolescent supervisor the Child who delights in reward systems and excessive punishments When agricultural and industrial production uotas are raised to an unattainable level the ninety ninth district dissolves into lawlessness And then as inclement weather and famine set in they are abandoned by the regime and left alone to survive

10 thoughts on “四书 Sìshū

  1. says:

    No Soap RadioAccording to Yan Maoist China was an absurdist paradise Based on the many other accounts of the period there is no reason to doubt him However if China has been such a place I find it difficult to accept that this was a passing cultural phase There seems to be something anti rational not just irrationa

  2. says:

    35 A camp for re education during China's Great Leap forward created a very disturbing read Have thought about this book on and off for days None of the characters have actual names they are called by the profession that landed them in this no mans land The author sent to write a tell all book about her fellow inter

  3. says:

    Not a review This book could have been far enjoyable if I wasn't so ignorant about Chinese history But that last chapter still made the book so worth it If you too find yourself struggling with symbolism the following link might be of help

  4. says:

    This is truly a masterpiece I bet even as late as halfway that Yan could not sustain this incredible satire Satire should be short I was wrong Instead of short this satire is simple and repetitive in very effective ways and it moves with circumstances which change slowly often seasonal just in time to keep the reader

  5. says:

    I have a few conflicting feelings in regards to this bookIt was interesting and definitely kept me hooked to the end but still I was lost during the entire bookI think this was in part due to the reason that I have minuscule knowledge when it comes to the history of China So when I went into this book all I knew was th

  6. says:

    A very cleverly written book covering 1958 1962 in China the reeducation camps the shambolic uest to make steel making a village industry and the resulting faminesThe inmates have no names and are known by their occupations author theologian doctor musician The camp commandant is young uneducated and ignorant and is kno

  7. says:

    I've read Wild Swans And loved it But there isn't a lot of material out there that shows us what happened inside China's Cultural Revolution about those sent for 're education' This book helps with thatIt felt insane enough to be compared to books such as Catch 22 the absurdity of it all It felt brutal and demeaning and

  8. says:

    The Four Books is set in a Chinese re education camp during the Great Leap Forward The inclusion of both fable and satire made it difficult to determine what was realistic and what was surreal The pacing seemed off as well The first 70% of the book really drags while the final 25% flies by but covers some repulsive topics

  9. says:

    Of the four texts that make up this manuscript Criminal Records was initially published in the 1980s as a collection of historical documents while the Author's nearly five hundred page historical account Old Course was not published until around 2002 by which time circumstances had changed to the point that it was greeted

  10. says:

    I happened upon ‘The Four Books’ amongst the library’s new acuisitions then subseuently realised it’s a Man Booker finalist It deals with the Great Leap Forward a disastrous attempt at rapid economic transformation instituted by Mao from 1958 to 1961 that resulted in appalling famine The translator’s note at the b

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