There's Nothing I Can Do When I Think of You Late at Night Hardcover – May 20 2009
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Cao examines the often barbaric side of human nature in the face of stark poverty and extreme necessity.(Publishers Weekly)
These stories are dark, they are rural, they are moving, even arresting in places, and they are well translated. Cao Naiqian is a master of this subgenrean intriguing, honest, and courageous chronicler of life in the 'other China.'(Howard Goldblatt, University of Notre Dame and coeditor of Loud Sparrows: Contemporary Chinese Short-Shorts)
Swedish Nobel academician Göran Malmqvist wrote that Cao Naiqian was one of three Chinese authors who deserved the Nobel Prize. The best thing about these stories, aside from the realistic depiction of a world none of us wants to visit and few of us can imagine, is their almost lyrical presentation of human poverty, depravity, and occasional comradeship and mutual warmth. An excellent novel; the image of these disposable lives stays with one after reading.(Michael Duke, University of British Columbia)
A superb translation of one of the most important and impressive works in contemporary Chinese literature. John Balcom successfully conveys the mood of this gruesome yet lyrical tale about poor peasants living in a Chinese village several light-years away from the urban centers of mainland China.(Göran Malmqvist, member of the Swedish Academy) See all Product Description
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
The Villagers are presented as simple minded to the point of being animals, to the extent in one story at one point it is hard to tell whether a bull being castrated or a cow herd is the POV character. This is certainly deliberate. The villagers are absolutely obsessed with the most bestial varieties of sex, and spend much of the time either copulating like animals or contemplating such acts. There are multiple incidents of bestiality, incest to various degrees, and lots of really hideous unredeemed brutality. On the whole it is a disgusting book, even if certain sections manage to rise above the basest levels. Sadly these sections are often extremely cliched by the terms of Chinese fiction, but the book is short and I found it not hard to get to the end. However do not expect uplift, after this "Blood Meridian" becomes a tale of the triumph of the human spirit.
If you find profundity in the basest nature of humanity, or you can just not get enough novels about Zolaesque brutality among the peasants of Shanxi, then this book is for you. The jacket compares it to Faulkner's "Go Down Moses" and Sherwood Anderson's "Winesburg, Ohio." It really has nothing to do with either of them, except possibly structurally. At its best, a couple of the vignettes rise to the level of the weaker Dewey Dell portions of "As I Lay Dying," which shows a certain amount of talent on the writer's part.
A Note: According to the introduction, the novel was originally written in an extremely thick peasant dialect of Chinese, so it is sort of hard to judge the original, which is here translated into the most basic English.
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