Gold Mountain Blues Paperback – Aug 7 2012
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"There are few writers who can fuse the stories of China and those of foreign lands together as seamlessly as Ling Zhang. This reflects her value as a writer and the value of her works ... I believe Ling Zhang will become an outstanding one among those Chinese writers who persevere in using Chinese language in their writings while living overseas." - Mo Yan, winner of the 2012 Nobel Prize in Literature
About the Author
Ling Zhang is the author of four novels and three collections of short stories. She was born in Hangzhou, in Zhejiang Province, China, in 1957 and later moved to Wenzhou with her parents. She graduated from Fudan University with a major in English and moved to Canada in 1986. She has an M.A. in English from the University of Calgary and currently lives in Toronto.
Top Customer Reviews
GMB reminds me of the traditional story tellers of the Song and Yuan dynasties. Zhang Ling is a mesmorizing story teller. However, be forewarned: once you start reading GMB, you won't want to put it down.
With GMB, a new transnational, panoramic perspective has arrived on our shores to inform and delight us. The English translation of GOLD MOUNTAIN by Nicky Harman is simply superb. I would dare to state that she is in the same league as the award-winning translator of Chinese literature, Howard Goldblatt, who has been translating Chinese literature into English for over 25 years.
GOLD MOUNTAIN BLUES is replete with Chinese History from Emperor Qian Long (11) to the 1896 visit to Vancouver by Li Hongzhang (99,149) and visits (1897, 1910, and 1911) by Dr. Sun Yat-sen (252). This historical framework [e.g., "... year five of the reign of Guangxu" (11)] may be a bit confusing if one does not have a background in Chinese History, yet it is balanced with a Canadian time frame (501).
The juxaposition of the history of these two great countries allows many voices to be heard. To me, that was her purpose. Within any family, there will always be those who have a particular viewpoint. That is even true about those who read the same piece of literature or historical document.Read more ›
Review by Marlene Ritchie
I'm a student of Chinese culture and every-day life, so I was eager to read Ling Zhang's Gold Mountain Blues, the English translation by Nicky Harman. The novel chronicles four generations of the Fong family originally from Guangdong Province in southern China. Some family members immigrated to Canada (Gold Mountain) to make a living and some remained wedded to the soil of Spur-On-Village. The reader is continually surprised by sudden changes in direction taken by the family member whose life is being described. Scenes are pictured with detailed descriptions, often employing colourful metaphors or similes that set a clear background for the happenings. E.g. (pg. 9) "...the staircase looked like a ribcage with the intestines rotted away." (pg. 102) Describing the porters carrying trunks of presents from Gold Mountain: "They were filing along the narrow village street like an undulating black centipede so long that you could not see its head or its tail, enveloped in clouds of dust which they were kicking up beneath their feet." Through actions and conversations the main characters become real. As is human nature, some characters stimulate sympathy, and, even though the author makes no effort to persuade us, some stimulate annoyance because we judge their decisions. Until the fourth generation, China is home to the Fongs who live in Canada, and they constantly plot to return. Actions demonstrate that loyalty means to suffer deprivation to financially support country and family, that work, usually without pleasure, dominates life. Security means owning property, which is a driving force of the Fongs in China and Canada.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
It was refreshing to read this book about Chinese migrants coming to Canada from the viewpoint of a Chinese born writer. Read morePublished on May 12 2013 by Dim Sum Kid
Gold Mountain Blues by Ling Zhang is an extraordinary read and page turner. The novel is a fictional family saga set in China and Canada, spanning 125 years from 1879 to 2004, with... Read morePublished on June 18 2012 by Zoë S. Roy