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Gold Mountain Blues Paperback – Aug 7 2012


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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: 13.6 x 3.4 x 21.1 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 522 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #518,757 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"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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4 of 4 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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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Zoë S. Roy on June 18 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
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 vivid stories about life and death, love and hate of the Fong Family.

The multi-generational epic starts with Amy Smith, the fourth generation of a Chinese immigrant, who visits her family mansion in China. Among the different artefacts found in the house, an opium pipe helps trace back to the early years of the Fong family and their eldest son, Ah-Fat's youth as a farm boy in Hoi Ping County of Guangdong Province. To help his family out of poverty, Ah-Fat leaves for Gold Mountain. His pigtail cut is a sign of cultural conflict, but not because of the Xinhai Revolution. Then a woman's old jacket and pair of silk stockings tell the story of Ah-Fat who returns to his hometown for an arranged marriage several years later.

Reading the letters discovered in the house, Amy learns about Ah-Fat's life in Vancouver and his wife with two children in Hoi Ping. Years later, Kam Shan, their eldest son joins his father farming in Canada. Kam Shan is, by inadvertence, involved in Dr. Sun Yat-sen's revolution, and the loss of his pigtail leads to his temporary disappearance. The second son, Kam Ho, also joins his father in Canada. During the Second World War Kam Ho enlists in Canadian Army and dies in France.

The photo Amy has brought with her links to the story of her mother, Yin Ling, the third generation of The Fong family, and Amy herself as the third generation of the unmarried women in the Fong Family.
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