Tag Archives: China

Hearts Come Home – Pearl S. Buck

image

I bought this book in Lisbon, in a second-hand book-store down Baixa Chaido (wonderful store, despite the majority of titles were in Portogues). This 1970 version has a stamp on the second page: British Embassy. I love second-hand books!

image

I was used to read Buck’s work when placed in China, but this short stories collection was a surprise to me. Actually, it doesn’t include only stories from far East, but also from author’s Birth nation, the United States. And she deepens above all the relationships between men and women, between lovers, between husbands and wives.

When stories take place in China, the most appealing feature is the transformation, the passage from the Past to the Future, with all consequences on people who do not manage to keep the pace.

I noticed that Buck often uses the same names for her carachters and I wonder if they are the same carachters in different stories or if she only meant to indicate general names, so to match them to very ordinary people.

For sure, two stories relate to the same environment and carachter: Ted and Etsu, an American soldier and the home girl in Japan. I liked them very much, because they show very clearly how understanding was difficult after Japanese defeat and during American occupation. It also shows how Japanese people acted in front of the enemy: without fighting, but trying to understand. Beside this, japanese also tryed to be respectful – and to obey their emperor, who told them to do what the former enemy would ask.

I have another Buck’s novel on my shelf, but it is about India… we’ll see if I will like it like the other ones.

Leave a comment

Filed under Libri & C.

Hong gaoliang jiazu (Red Sorghum) – Mo Yan

image

Born in 1955, Mo Yan is a soldier. How many soldiers do you know that are able to tell such stories full of grief and Death and fear and love and mistery and nature? I do not wonder if his government did not allow him to leave his country and travel abroad.
A soldier who thinks by his own? OMG, please, this is too dangerous for chinese public image…

Anyway, the story is sometimes difficult to follow, because the author jumps from one year to another, but this not prevents you from falling in love with the characters; on the contrary: although you already know that someone will die in a certain moment and in a certain way (usually a very bloody way), this lets him be even dearer.

While you read you cannot distinguish anymore if the red of the landscape you see in front of your eyes is the one of the sorghum or the one of the blood.

The story takes place in 20th Century: I do not know if chinese people died more from their inner problems (famine, banditry, internal fights) or from Japanese invasion. The result, anyway, is always the same: sadness and cruel deaths (skinnings, genitals cuttings, rapes and lots more) for men, women and children.

And still, at the end of the novel, when you see that the hybrid sorghum has supplanted the natural red sorghum, and you understand that this is the end of an era, and despite its load of sufference and grief, you feel that you miss something. Life, maybe?

Leave a comment

Filed under Libri & C.