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Notes of a Desolate Man

1 rating: 5.0
A book by Chu T'ien-wen

"I am a sick man ... I am a spiteful man," cries the narrator of Dostoyevsky'sNotes from the Underground. The narrator of Chu Tien-Wen'sNotes of a Desolate Manmight amend that to "I am not a sick man ... but I am by no means well." Xiao Shao has reached … see full wiki

Tags: Book, Cafe Libri
Author: Chu T'ien-wen
Publisher: Columbia University Press
1 review about Notes of a Desolate Man

Moments with a kaleidoscope

  • Jan 11, 2000
Rating:
+5
Warning: Do not attempt to consume this little novel in a short period of time! Contrary to the small physical size of this book this is not a brief story. Rather, it is a wondrous little tome that blends Eastern vantage and culture with Western philosophy and becomes a multifacted gem reflecting on life, death, love, passion, and sex. I am reminded of my wonder that MEMOIRS OF A GEISHA was written by a man, so much of the feminine mysticism permeated every page. This story is so convincingly related by a gay man who is in conflict with his Taiwan society, Chinese heritage, his views of homosexual life and love, that the reader is repeatedly taken by surprise that such personal, male perceptions are being written by a woman; the book FEELS as though it is a first person male narration. A Theme and Variations on the contemporary struggle to find meaning, this author amazes in the sensitive explorations of Levi Strauss, Michel Foucault, as well as excursions in to the arts, the skill and pain of Nijinsky's life, Bach's music , Greek mythology - an almost endless stream of consciousness of universal themes. And yet the characters remain well drawn, credible, sympathetic. I found that when the words started to wander away from me, losing linear direction of narration, I had to re-read some parts before diving back in to the flood of the incredible wealth of ideas being offered. I am not able to read the original Chinese, but if these two translators have the author's blessing we are in the presence of a unique, valuable voice. Reward yourself with this challenging book. You will be the richer for it.

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