ITEM CODE: L14-01
TITLE: Life and Death are Wearing Me Out
AUTHOR: Mo Yan
BINDING: Hardcover w/o Dust Jacket
Publisher: Arcade Publishing (New York)
Copyright: 2006 by Mo Yan; English language translation copyright 2008 by Howard Goldblatt
Edition: First English Language Edition, 2nd Printing
- Rare in hardbound; Highly Collectible First Edition from this year’s Nobel Prize for Literature Winner.
- Translated from the Chinese by Howard Goldblatt
Book is in "Very Good" condition, but missing dust jacket; light dirt marks to front cover near spine fold, remnant of pasted material to back cover (noticeable), otherwise cover is very good with only light bump to head and tail of spine caps and bottom fore corner of front cover; text block edges and pages are clean, sharp and unmarked; spine is solid, binding tight.
Today's most revered, feared, and controversial Chinese novelist offers a tour de force in which the real, the absurd, the comical, and the tragic are blended into a fascinating read. The hero-or antihero-of Mo Yan's novel is Ximen Nao, a landowner known for his generosity and kindness and benevolence to his peasants. However, during Mao's Land Reform Movement of 1948, he is not only stripped of his land and worldly possessions but cruelly executed, despite his protestations of innocence. The novel opens in Hell, where Lord Yama, king of the underworld, has Ximen Nao tortured endlessly in order to force a confession of guilt from him. When his efforts remain fruitless, Lord Yama allows Ximen Nao to return to earth, where he is reborn not as a human, but first as a donkey, then a horse, a pig, a monkey, and, finally, the big-headed boy Lan Qiansui. Through the eyes of animal and boy, Ximen Nao takes us on a deliriously unique journey through fifty years of peasant history in China, right to the edge of the new millennium. Here is an absolutely riveting tale that reveals the author's love of a homeland beset by ills inevitable, political, and traditional.
"Mo Yan’s powerful new novel Life and Death Are Wearing Me Out... is a kind of documentary, carrying the reader across time from the land reform at the end of the Chinese Civil War, through the establishment of mutual-aid teams and lower-level cooperatives in the early and mid-1950s, into the extreme years of the Great Leap Forward and the famine of the late ’50s and early ’60s, and on to the steady erosion of the collective economy in the new era of largely unregulated ‘capitalism with socialist characteristics’ ... Yet although one can say that the political dramas narrated by Mo Yan are historically faithful to the currently known record, Life and Death remains a wildly visionary and creative novel, constantly mocking and rearranging itself and jolting the reader with its own internal commentary. This is politics as pathology". – Jonathan Spence, Sunday Book Review, The New York Times