Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Book Review - Buying a Fishing Rod for my Grandfather

I am in a groove as far as reading fiction goes, and finished a brief book of short stories last night: Buying a Fishing Rod for My Grandfather, by Chinese Nobel Prize laureate Gao Xingjian.

This is a brief but entertaining collection of a handful of stories, translated from the original Chinese. The stories were a mix of realistic and surrealistic. It is always hard for to judge the language where translation is involved, but the stories reminded me of Kawabata, a great Japanese writer. Or perhaps I am just creating an artificial link between two great Asian writers in my head, I don't know for sure. But there is a certain sparseness and elegance that they both share that I found reminiscent of each other.

By all accounts, to do Gao justice I should be reading Soul Mountain or One Man's Bible, each an epic novel of 500 or so pages. They are both sitting on a shelf in the basement, daring me to take them on. Perhaps I will. Someday.

4 out of 5 stars.

For now, I have started Diaz's The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao (so far so good).

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