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Book Title: A Dictionary of Maqiao|
The author of the book: Han Shaogong
Edition: Dial Press Trade Paperback
Date of issue: September 27th 2005
ISBN 13: 9780385339353
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 761 KB
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Reader ratings: 4.5
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From the daring imagination of one of China’s greatest living novelists comes a work of startling power and originality–the story of a young man “displaced” to a small village in rural China during the 1960s. Told in the format of a dictionary, with a series of vignettes disguised as entries, A Dictionary of Maqiao is a novel of bold invention–and a fascinating, comic, deeply moving journey through the dark heart of the Cultural Revolution.
Entries trace the wisdom and absurdities of Maqiao: the petty squabbles, family grudges, poverty, infidelities, fantasies, lunatics, bullies, superstitions, and especially the odd logic in their use of language–where the word for “beginning” is the same as the word for “end”; “little big brother” means older sister; to be “scientific” means to be lazy; and “streetsickness” is a disease afflicting villagers visiting urban areas. Filled with colorful characters–from a weeping ox to a man so poisonous that snakes die when they bite him–A Dictionary of Maqiao is both an important work of Chinese literature and a probing inquiry into the extraordinary power of language.
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Read information about the authorHan Shaogong (Traditional:韓少功; Simplified: 韩少功; Pinyin: Hán Shàogōng; born January 1, 1953) is a Chinese novelist and fictionist.
Han was born in Hunan, China. While relying on traditional Chinese culture, in particular Chinese mythology, folklore, Taoism and Buddhism as source of inspiration, he also borrows freely from Western literary techniques. As a teenager during the Cultural revolution he was labeled an ‘educated youth’ and sent to the countryside for re-education through labour. Employed at a local cultural center after 1977, he soon won recognition as an outspoken new literary talent. His early stories attacked the ultra-leftist degradation of China during the Mao era; they tended toward a slightly modernist style. However, he reemerged in the mid-1980s as the leader of an avant-garde school, the "Search for Roots" or the Xungen Movement.
Han's major work to date is A Dictionary of Maqiao, a novel published in 1996 and translated into English in 2003. His writing is influenced by Kafka and by the magic realism of Gabriel García Márquez. In 1987, he published a Chinese translation of Milan Kundera's The Unbearable Lightness of Being and edited Hainan Jishi Wenxue ("Hainan Documentary Literature"), a successful literary magazine. He has been given the French Ordre des Arts et des Lettres and with other Chinese writers visited France in 1988 at the invitation of the French Ministry of Culture. Han was invited back in 1989 but was denied permission to leave China until 1991.
Han's other works include Moon Orchid (1985), Bababa (1985), Womanwomanwoman (1985), Deserted City (1989), and Intimations (2002).
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