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Shen Congwen (1902–1988)

Teoksen Border Town tekijä

27 teosta 183 jäsentä 7 arvostelua 1 Favorited

Tietoja tekijästä

Image credit: Originally from hunnu.edu.cn

Tekijän teokset

Merkitty avainsanalla


Kanoninen nimi
Shen Congwen
Muut nimet
Shen Ts'ung-wen
Maa (karttaa varten)
Fenghuang, Hunan, China
Beijing, China



"An old imperial highway running east from Sichuan into Hunan province leads, after reaching the West Hunan border, to a little mountain town called Chadong. By a narrow stream on the way to town was a little white pagoda, below which once lived a solitary family: an old man, a girl, and a yellow dog." So begins the tale of Cuicui.

I was particularly interested in reading this account of peasant life in China before the revolution, because I wanted to make a comparison to Pearl Buck's Good Earth. Both accounts were written about the same period in China and both were written in the 1930s, but one was written by a Chinese man and the other by an American woman (whose first language and home was in China). I found them so vastly different that they might have been written about completely different peoples and times.

It was difficult for me to see why this novel would have been banned by the Communist government that took over China. It seems so innocuous in its content and portrayal of these people. When I had finished reading it, I wondered if there was some deeper meaning that I was failing to see. I had loved the opening sentence so much that I expected to be in love with this novel by its end, but I was not. It plodded somewhat and I felt the characters were underdeveloped. Still, an interesting look at what a Chinese writer believed the peasant class was like before the country endured the upheaval of the revolution.
… (lisätietoja)
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mattorsara | 4 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Aug 11, 2022 |
An odd and simple tale that defies classification, so I will call it a rural romance. Not a love story but a love of simple rural and village life depicted in the manner reminiscent of Chinese folk tales of unrequited and frustrated love.

Basically, the story focuses on young Cuicui who is unable to transfer her adolescent affection for her grandfather into a maturing form of love for a young suitor. Their lives depend on the living her grandfather makesas a ferryman who transports strangers and villagers -- though he never charges his passengers -- across the river that separates them from town life. Cuicui increasingly acts in his stead.

To me, their livelihood is a metaphor for their inability to go forward in life and is representative of Cuicui's inability to choose between two potential husbands. Forward impulsion is replaced by back-and-forth routine. Congwen makes it clear that he admires and holds the people and way of life of rural ethnic Chinese to be superior to the lives of Han Chinese who were, at the time this book was written, embroiled in the Communist Revolution.

There is no compelling reason to go out of your way to read this book, but it is worth exploration if you are, like me, interested in all the literary output of China. The mood of the novel is quiet, even subdued, and bucolic -- suitable to the subject. It is, oddly, hero-less and there are no villains, which makes it an internal psycho-drama with lots of painful yet gentle psychology and really very little drama.
… (lisätietoja)
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Limelite | 4 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Feb 7, 2016 |
Though I felt like there were many parts that I missed, overall it was a little gem that I quite enjoyed. Except the ending which took me completely by suprise with way too many deaths all at once.
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amyem58 | 4 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Jul 16, 2014 |
Shen Congwen is one of pioneers of modern Chinese literature, and with Border Town - one of his most famous books, it is easy to see why. Falling under the "native soil" genre of writings, Shen describes in detail the daily lives of the villagers in a semi-fictional town in the author's home province of Hunan. A descriptively simple book, Shen has managed to paint a picture almost frozen in time, of China before the turmoil of the mid-twentieth century.
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xuebi | 4 muuta kirja-arvostelua | May 30, 2014 |


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