Soul Mountain, Paperback Book
3.5 out of 5 (2 ratings)


Winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature 2000. Part travel diary, part philosophy, part love story, `Soul Mountain' is an elegant, unforgettable novel that journeys deep into the heart of modern-day China.In 1982 Chinese playwright, novelist and artist Gao Xingjian was diagnosed with lung cancer, the very disease that had killed his father.

For six weeks Gao inhabited a transcendental state of imminent death, treating himself to the finest foods he could afford while spending time reading in an old graveyard in the Beijing suburbs.

But a secondary examination revealed there was no cancer - he had won a `reprieve from death' and had been thrown back into the world of the living.Faced with a repressive cultural environment and the threat of a spell in a prison farm, Gao fled Beijing.

He travelled first to the ancient forests of central China and from there to the east coast, passing through eight provinces and seven nature reserves, a journey of fifteen thousand kilometres over a period of five months.

The result of this epic voyage of discovery is `Soul Mountain'.Interwoven into this picaresque journey are myriad stories and countless memorable characters - from venerable Daoist masters and Buddhist monks and nuns to mythical Wild Men; deadly Qichun snakes to farting buses.

Conventions are challenged, preconceptions are thwarted and the human condition, with all its foibles and triumphs, is laid bare.




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Showing 1 - 2 of 2 reviews.

Review by

Soul Mountain- Gao Xingjian - another reading group choice. Only 2 out of 10 of us managed to get past the opening chapters. I did like some episodes, but overall found it incredibly slow, miserable, meandering and plotless. To add insult to injury, towards the end of the book the guy actually has a good laugh about his book being unreadable! If anyone has any doubt that the Nobel is awarded on a political rather than a literary agenda, this clinches it.

Review by

Not an easy read. So intense that it's overwhelming; poetic, melancholy, surreal, beautiful. One of my favourite books.