Soul Mountain

Soul Mountain

In 1983, Chinese playwright, critic, fiction writer, and painter Gao Xingjian was diagnosed with lung cancer and faced imminent death. But six weeks later, a second examination revealed there was no cancer -- he had won "a reprieve from death." Faced with a repressive cultural environment and the threat of a spell in a prison farm, Gao fled Beijing and began a journey of 15,000 kilometers into the remote mountains and ancient forests of Sichuan in southwest China. The result of this epic voyage of discovery is Soul Mountain.Bold, lyrical, and prodigious, Soul Mountain probes the human soul with an uncommon directness and candor and delights in the freedom of the imagination to expand the notion of the individual self.

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After I had finished Gao Xingjian's Soul Mountain, I thought I had an answer to the question: It made me move into unknown territories, discovering elements of literature that enriched me in a surprising way, and it challenged my comfort zone by inviting me to embark on a spiritual journey in China. After reading some of his plays, I dared to attempt Gao Xingjian's masterful novel - a collection of disruptive narratives reflecting on humankind and nature, and their fragile relationship to each other.

But I have such specific remembrances--memories of feelings and moments of hyper-awareness--tied to this book....

A powerful spiritual experience, coming from an author still alive!!

I cannot help, but to refer these news:"Chinese Officials Admit 'Cancer Villages' Due To Pollution Exist"*. (Buddha Sakyamuni and Mahakayapa) Preamble Lingshaw means Soul Mountain. In this book there's an enlightening preface by Noël Dutrait referring that, in China, "in the end of the 1970's there was a timid political liberalization", therefore allowing writers not to serve the (communist) party. In several interviews I've watched, he said (in good French): "in my natal country, my name and books are censured". About the Olympic Games, Gao commented, that "everybody is aware about censorship in China"Anti-spiritual Pollution Campaign. (by painter Bada Shanren; 1625-1705) Gao said that "painting starts where words cannot go"; but while reading this book I had this great feeling I was viewing terrifically beautiful landscapes....of forests and mountains and ...of soul's.... (by painter Gong Xian; 1660-1700) The book's story is auto-biographical especially in what concerns the "diagnosed terminal cancer" and, in general, the China hinterland tour (5 months). The Story The main character of the story is a matured man called Li.He lived a lot of time in the city.We found him with a back pack on a 12 hours bus ride...on his way to visit his natal land...in South China. Here, while reading,we get introduced to a new style of narration: an omnipresent narrator addresses Li constantly telling him things, like: "you, yourself, don't know why you came here". Li took a bus to little Wuyi village; old books speak about Lingshaw; like Classic of the Seas and the Mountains; they say that the Buddha awakened there the venerable Mahakayapa. Li's trip is a voyage to return to Nature, to have an authentic life; he should have abandoned pollution a long time ago. The Voice is back on Li:"you don't know how to love, you lost your virility, so weak you are". Li asks hurt-woman if she wants to cross the river, to the other side: there, it's Lingshaw-the Soul Mountain.A place where you can see marvels, that will help you forgetting...and get liberation. (by painter Hua Yen; 1682 1756) Li speaks about himself; about the time when lung cancer was diagnosed; had he experienced repentance?... His friend had studied genetic engineering; he thought "life is admirable-a chance phenomenon". One day Li consults a psychic woman; she's having convulsions and tells about his destiny; "you are surrounded by great difficulties and the little men";Li knows them: "the Sanshi...the little men living in the body of men, hiding in the throat, feeding on saliva". The psychic woman tells him too: you've found the white tiger. The psychic woman had told Li: "I think you won't get pardon...there's an evil man who wants to punish you...you'll hardly escape".Nine white tigers.

This book is admittedly a bit challengingits structure is unconventional, folk tales mingle with personal history, and it isn't bound so much by a plot as by a pervading spirit of search.

É assim." Gao Xingjian, A Montanha da Alma "A Montanha da Alma constitui uma obra única na paisagem literária contemporânea.

Id like to start with a view that dissents with those of some other reviewers, who (in praise, often) claim that this book works outside the rules of fiction, or is unlike all other books, or isnt even a novel. Of course it is a novel, and a hyperliterary one at thatand it operates within structures of fictional form that are common (even commonplace) in the twentieth century, not to mention in earlier works that share some of its more astonishing features (such as Don Quixote).

  • English

  • Fiction

  • Rating: 3.58
  • Pages: 510
  • Publish Date: October 23rd 2001 by Harper Perennial
  • Isbn10: 0060936231
  • Isbn13: 9780060936235