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Gold Mountain Blues Paperback – Aug 7 2012

6 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 544 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Canada (Aug. 7 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 014317746X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0143177463
  • Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 3.6 x 20.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 522 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #642,478 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


"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.

Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Curious Reader on Nov. 28 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Chinese and Canadian history comes to life through the talented story telling by a young Canadian writer, Zhang Ling. She is an award-winning author in China, and the novel, GOLD MOUNTAIN BLUES (GMB), is her debut in English. This novel was first written in Chinese and is called GOLD MOUNTAIN. As one who has taught both Chinese History and Chinese literature, I am extremely impressed with her literary talents and meticulous historical research.

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.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Norah on Nov. 27 2011
Format: Hardcover
Following a fictional family for several generations, this novel collects some of the familiar historical images of early Chinese immigrants and adds more that I never knew about. The voice was so intimate it gave me a start as a non-Chinese Canadian and must reassure and give voice to the many generations of Chinese Canadians. I particularly enjoyed seeing the impact of this exodus back in China. A treat for the history buff.
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Format: Hardcover
[[ASIN:0670065137 Gold Mountain Blues by Ling Zhang
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.
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