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China in Ten Words Paperback – 21 August 2012
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|Paperback, 21 August 2012||
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- Publisher : Anchor Books (21 August 2012)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 240 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0307739791
- ISBN-13 : 978-0307739797
- Dimensions : 13.11 x 1.75 x 20.29 cm
- Best Sellers Rank: 80,991 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
"Captures the heart of the Chinese. . . . If you think you know China, you will be challenged to think again. If you don't know China, you will be introduced to a country that is unlike anything you have heard from travelers or read about in the news." --The Wall Street Journal"An outstanding set of essays on the general topic of why modern China is the way it is, each essay centered on a Chinese word or phrase. . . . Very much worth reading." --James Fallows, The Atlantic "Yu has a fiction writer's nose for the perfect detail, the everyday stuff that conveys more understanding than a thousand Op-Eds. . . . Perhaps the most bewitching aspect of this book is how funny it is. . . . He comes across as an Asian fusion of David Sedaris and Charles Kuralt." --Laura Miller, Salon
"This is a tale told by a raconteur, not an academic. . . . The most powerful and vivid sections reach back to Yu Hua's childhood during the Cultural Revolution. . . . It is a cautionary tale about the risks of subterfuge, of trying to sneak something past one's father--or, perhaps, one's ever vigilant government. --The New York Times Book Review If Yu Hua never wrote anything else, he would rate entry into the pantheon of greats for 'Reading, ' an essay in his new collection China in Ten Words. Nothing I've ever read captures both the power and subversive nature of youthful reading as well. . . . For American readers curious about the upheavals of China, this may be the right moment to discover Yu Hua. --Jim Higgins, Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel It's rare to find a work of fiction that can be hysterically funny at some points, while deeply moving and disturbing at others. It's even more unusual to find such qualities in a work of non-fiction. But China in Ten Words is just such an extraordinary work. --Los Angeles Review of Books blog At times humorous, at times heartbreaking, and at times fierce, these ten moving and informative essays form a small kaleidoscopic view of contemporary China. . . . Written with a novelist's eye and narrative flair, China in Ten Words will make the reader rethink the China miracle. --Ha Jin, National Book Award-winning author of Waiting
"A collection of 10 quietly audacious essays that blend memoir with social commentary. Yu Hua, who resides in Beijing--a significant detail, given how many important Chinese authors live in exile, where they can write more freely--builds each piece on the foundation of a familiar Mandarin term. The approach is smart literary politics: The Chinese adore their language and consider devotion to it an act of cultural patriotism. . . . The insight it offers and the force and authority it packs is of a kind that few, if any, of those louder, more attention-seeking must-read books can even pretend to match." --The National Post "A discursively simple series of essays explaining his country's recent history through 10 central terms. . . . Caustic and difficult to forget, China in Ten Words is a people's-eye view of a world in which the people have little place." --Pico Iyer, Time (Asia) "One of China's most prominent writers. . . . In his sublime essay collection, Hua explores his often spartan childhood during the Cultural Revolution in the 1960s and 1970s and the rampant corruption of modern China." --Newark Star-Ledger In this era of the China Boom when Communist Party officials are so inclined to erase the travails of their country's past from public consciousness, Yu Hua's insistence on remembering comes as an almost shocking intrusion into a willful state of amnesia. His earthy, even ribald, meditations on growing up in small-town China during Mao's Cultural revolution remind us of just how twisted China's progress into the present has been and how precariously balanced its success story actually still is. --Orville Schell, Director of the Center on US-China Relations, The Asia Society
About the Author
Yu Hua is the author of four novels, six collections of stories, and three collections of essays. His work has been translated into more than twenty languages. In 2002, he became the first Chinese writer to win the James Joyce Award. His novel Brothers was short-listed for the Man Asian Literary Prize and awarded France's Prix Courrier International. To Live was awarded Italy's Premio Grinzane Cavour, and To Live and Chronicle of a Blood Merchant were ranked among the ten most influential books in China in the 1990's by Wen Hui Bao, the largest newspaper in Shanghai. Yu Hua lives in Beijing.
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Top reviews from Australia
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However, in saying that, I thought CHINA IN TEN WORDS was enlightening. I visited China for the first time a month ago and I found the behaviour and mindset of locals very puzzling (I'm of Chinese heritage so it surprised me that I didn't "get" the Chinese people)!
But reading Yu Hua's helped me put a lot into perspective. He also gave quite a few insights on how actions of the government during and after the cultural revolution, during and post Mao, pretty much shaped the attitudes and behaviours of the populace.
I wouldn't rush to read another of his books unless compelled to dive again into the psyche of the (mainland) Chinese. I would only recommend this book to those who are quite interested in understanding (mainland) Chinese people.
Top reviews from other countries
I felt that the concept of summing up China in ten words was an interesting approach. However, I didn't think it was totally successful and occasionally had the feeling that Yu Hua struggled to make the content fit into the structure.
That said, it was a worthwhile read. I particularly enjoyed the chapter on bamboozle.
L'autore, uno scrittore cinese che vive in Cina, adotta una scelta stilistica pregevole, prendendo a pretesto 10 diverse parole, intorno alle quali sviluppare 10 piccole narrazioni basati sul proprio vissuto, soprendenti, scorrevoli e mai banali.