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Life and Death are Wearing Me Out by Mo Yan
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Life and Death are Wearing Me Out (2006)

by Mo Yan

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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271441,869 (3.86)1 / 67
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English (3)  Spanish (1)  All languages (4)
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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 |
This is a terrific read – a big view of the second half of 20th-Century China, but lightly told in terms of a small rural town and beings, not all human, in it that you care about. (Why are these novels always called “sweeping” in reviews?) Mo Yan is not afraid to step slightly over the boundaries of reality as we usually understand it, but it is well done, and I didn’t have any problem following along. The author has been compared to Marquez, but he reminds me more of Mark Helprin.

The translation is never stilted and I quickly forgot the original was written (with brush and ink, I read) in Chinese. This was the first of Mo Yan’s novels that I’ve read, but I will certainly catch up on his earlier works. ( )
1 vote Larxol | Jul 14, 2008 |
Showing 3 of 3
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.
 

» Add other authors (3 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Yan, Moprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Goldblatt, HowardTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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"'Life and death are wearing me out' opens in hell on January 1, 1950, nearly two years after Mao Zedong's Land Reform Movement overturned the traditional order of rural China. For those two years, Lord Yama, king of the underworld, has submitted Ximen Nao, a landowner known for his uncommon kindness to all who worked his land, to every possible torture to make him admit the charges that led to his execution at the hands of newly empowered peasants. But even after being fried alive - the ultimate torture in hell - Ximen Nao continues to proclaim his innocence. Finally, in disgust, Lord Yama relents and allows him to return to earth, to his former landholdings in impoverished Shandong. But when he arrives there, he finds to his dismay that he has been reborn not as a man but as a donkey, and it is through this animal's eyes that he witnesses the fates of his former family, friends, rivals, and enemies. Subsequent reincarnations find him as an ox, a pig, a dog, a monkey, and finally a large-headed boy with an uncanny memory and a great gift for language. Through the earthy perspective of each of these characters - as wells as of author Mo Yan himself, who frequently interrupts to comment on the events - this novel narrates the past fifty years of China's tumultuous history."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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