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Tuesday, July 27, 2004

"La montagne de l'âme" utterly engrossing

50 pages into Gao Xingjian's "La montagne de l'âme" that I began reading yesterday.

beautiful, lyrical, vivid, nostalgic prose--I am absolutely in love with this book.

The book is 700 pages long. It will take me a year to finish--since I am reading the French translation instead of the English one--but I am sure it will be entirely worth it.

Here's Gao Xingjian on nostalgia, in an old courtyard of his childhood...

Sur le toit, les herbes sèches ou vivantes, blanches ou vertes, se balancent doucement au vent. Cela fait combien d'années que tu n'as pas revu ces herbes sur les toits? Pieds nus, tu fais claquer tes pas sur les dalles de pierre profondément marquées par les traces des roues des brouettes et tu émerges de ton enfance, tu émerges dans le présent."

Isn't that beautiful?

The book is written in normal tenses, not in passé simple, and uses first and second person pronouns instead of names, making it amazingly engrossing, grabbing your attention and not letting go. (That the book is not written in passé simple also has a side effect of making it much easier to read with my mediocre French.) I am hooked.

I may not be able to blog at all until I am done! Sorry folks.


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