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Wolf Totem

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3.97  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,208 Ratings  ·  346 Reviews
An epic Chinese tale in the vein of The Last Emperor, Wolf Totem depicts the dying culture of the Mongols-the ancestors of the Mongol hordes who at one time terrorized the world-and the parallel extinction of the animal they believe to be sacred: the fierce and otherworldly Mongolian wolf

Published under a pen name, Wolf Totem was a phenomenon in China, breaking all sales
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Hardcover, 527 pages
Published March 27th 2008 by Penguin Press HC, The (first published January 4th 2004)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Sue
Jan 28, 2013 Sue rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those interested in Chinese history or natural history
This has been a reading experience unlike any other for me. Through the eyes of a Chinese student, sent to Inner Mongolia as part of a volunteer program during the Cultural Revolution, we see a nomadic way of life as it has existed for centuries and as it is on the verge of it's death before encroaching masses of Chinese seeking land and food. (The author was involved in the same type of program for 11 years, beginning in 1967.)

Chen Zhen, and 2 or 3 like-minded friends in the student brigade, re
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Hadrian
Sep 27, 2014 Hadrian rated it liked it
This is the second book I've read in two months which came from the period of the Cultural Revolution. It approaches the same themes from a different setting. A young schoolboy is sent down to the countryside and made to learn from the peasants.

But this story is something different - the young schoolboy is sent to the Chinese province of Inner Mongolia and made to live with the nomadic mongols. Their way of life is something completely alien to his experience. The tribesmen are so finely attune
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Debbie Zapata
Jan 25, 2016 Debbie Zapata rated it really liked it
Shelves: saturday
First of all, thanks to GR friend Alice for mentioning this book to me. I would never have heard of it if not for our chats, and it would have been such a shame to miss the experience of reading Wolf Totem.

This is a novel based on the author's experiences as a student worker in Inner Mongolia from 1967 to 1979. While there he became fascinated by the wolves of the region, and the life on the grassland. Chen Zhen, our main character, is also a Han Chinese student who has been sent to the grasslan
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Boof
Mar 11, 2009 Boof rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Boof by: To read with RJ
I finished this book 2 days ago, after having my head buried in it for 4 days and I just can't stop thinking about it. It is the most wonderful book and has shot straight into my Top 5 of all time.

From the very first page I was hooked. Jiang Rong creates such a vivid and compelling narrative that I found myself similtaniously gripped with the story yet trying to slow down and savour every word, so beautiful was each sentence.

Wolf Totem is semi-autobiographical and Jiang's passion for the Mongol
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Alice Poon
Mar 27, 2016 Alice Poon rated it really liked it

I read the Chinese edition (original) of this novel and posted my review on June 18, 2008 on Asia Sentinel's website. I'm re-posting it here.

Before dwelling on the good points, let me just quickly point out the one thing that I found hardest to accept, and that is the author’s tendency to explain away the weak disposition of the Chinese ethnic race with a simplistic rationale that it is due to the traditional sedentary agricultural lifestyle since the ancient times, and then to attribute all glo
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Mery
Feb 20, 2010 Mery rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: semua pecinta hewan dan alam
Shelves: punya, lagi-dipinjem
Wolf Totem = Totem Serigala adalah sebuah buku semi autobiografi yang ditulis oleh Jiang Rong mengenai semasa hidupnya di sebuah Padang Rumput Mongolia, atau tepatnya di Olonbulag, Mongolia.

Dengan memperkenalkan diri sebagai Chen Zhen dalam buku ini, Jiang Rong mengupas tuntas misteri yang tersembunyi di Olonbulag dan bagaimana masyarakat Nomaden yang selalu berpindah tempat di alam liar tersebut bisa mempertahankan hidup mereka. Di buku ini kita juga diajak menyelami ajaran mistis para penduduk
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Grace Tjan
"Old longings nomadic leap,
Chafing at custom's chain;
Again from its brumal sleep
Wakens the ferine strain."

The Wolf Totem, like The Call of the Wild, a book that it is often compared to, calls for a return to unfettered nature, with its individualism and harsh, but utterly logical values. The wolves don’t kill because they are cruel, but because, like all other living creatures, they need to eat to sustain themselves. The beautiful Inner Mongolian grassland which serves as the setting for this no
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Whitaker
I loved it. Heartbreaking and pertinent.

Setting aside any reservations one might have about style (one reads for many things, style being only one of them), I enjoyed the book most for its depiction of the social and bureaucratic processes of the Great Leap Forward and how these brought about the destruction of a culture and of an ecology. The story has an urgent poignancy with its lessons wrapped in a nice little tale along the lines of Born Free, but with a less happy ending. Chen’s love for
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gieb
Mar 01, 2010 gieb rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Serigala tiba-tiba menjadi harapan bagi Chen Zhen, pelajar muda dari Beijing yang akibat politik dikirim ke Olunbulag, sebuah daerah di pedalaman Mongolia. Dari seekor serigala, Chen Zhen tidak hanya belajar tentang pengetahuan, tetapi juga kearifan. Belajar tentang serigala, kita akan belajar tentang kehidupan. Saya merasa, pesan inilah yang ingin disampaikan oleh Jiang Rong dalam novel Wolf Totem ini.

Ada yang mengatakan nostalgia adalah rasa pedih yang mulia. Saya sependapat jika ada yang men
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Faisal
Mar 17, 2013 Faisal rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: روايات
رغم أني استغرقت وقت طويل في القراءة وكدت أن أتوقف في أكثر من مرة ( خصوصاً في النصف الأول منها ) .. إلا أني بعد الانتهاء أشعر برضا تام عما قرأته .. رغم تحفظي على الإغراق في التفاصيل والإسهاب في أكثر من موضع بلا داعٍ ..
لا أبالغ إن قلت أن تجربتي مع سهوب منغوليا في هذا الكتاب تحمل ملامح كبير من تجربتي مع رسول حمزتوف في جبال داغستان .. نفس المشاعر الصادقة للمكان لمستها في الكتابين ..
الكتاب يهتم بتحليل الشخصية الفريدة التي يتمتع بها الإنسان البدوي .. المميزات التي جعلت البدو المغول يغزون العالم يوماً
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Astrobravo
Feb 19, 2012 Astrobravo rated it liked it
I really like this book, but its translation is a problem. I have both the Chinese and the English versions, and quite a bit of the original is left untranslated in the English release.

In the Chinese edition, there is a quote from a famous person (both Western and Eastern) before each chapter that sort of sets the theme for the chapter, gives further insight into the political ideas in the story, etc. These quotes are completely omitted in the translated version. In addition, there is a 50 pages
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Vaidya
Sep 13, 2013 Vaidya rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle
This is not easy reading. The writing is pretty simple, being a translation. But the content doesn't sit easy. Am not the kind who can sit through a documentary on wildlife easily; the bad news about habitat destruction and their being driven towards extinction comes soon enough.

I had to repeatedly read Wikipedia to note that wolves are not extinct and are in the Least Concern category of IUCN. But then, this is not a tale of just wolves. This is about a grassland, an ecosystem and a way of lif
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Ethan Cramer-Flood
Dec 07, 2009 Ethan Cramer-Flood rated it it was ok
Apparently moving to China has slowed down my reading considerably.

Wolf Totem was a massive best seller here in 2005; despite being somewhat literary it broke every sales record the country has, short of Mao's little red book. It was also made into a movie that did equally well. I decided to check it out to get a feel for modern pop-literature zeitgeist in China, but I think I suffered from a culture gap.

It's about a Beijing student sent to inner Mongolia during the cultural revolution in the 1
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Susana
Isto é mais um documentário em forma de livro do que propriamente um "romance".

Eu gostei, porque o tema me interessa particularmente - os lobos e a sua função ecológica (neste caso na manutenção do ecossistema "estepe" na Mongólia chinesa).

Mas para quem não se interesse por lobos, ecologia ou a história chinesa, este livro pode tornar-se repetitivo e aborrecido, até porque são mais de 500 páginas...
Os diálogos são, quase invariavelmente, aproveitados como forma de transmitir conhecimentos ou op
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Wendy
Feb 13, 2016 Wendy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, favourites
I consider this to be one of the most important books I've ever read. I also think I need to make a GR shelf titled 'books that have made me cry,' and put this one on it, because despite some of my past posturing to the contrary, I'm apparently just a gigantic Koosh ball made of tears and snot. At least I don't cry at Hallmark commercials--I haven't sunk that low...yet.

So, why is this book important--so important, in fact, that I believe it should be required reading in all high schools in Ameri
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Abdullah
اذا لم تكن لديك قدرة على المطاولة فالرواية طويلة جداً ستمائة صفحة من القطع الكبير والخط صغير جداً مغرقة في التفاصيل ولكنها ملحمة إنسانية كاملة .. عمر من التجارب البيئية والإنسانية

الذئب العدو الذي ستجبرك الرواية على حبه .. والإنسان الحليف الذي تجبرك على كرهه

فائدتان رئيسيتان : الصين حاولت إجبار كل مواطنيها على ان تكون لهم هوية واحدة (الهان) فكانت النتيجة ان تشوهت جميع الهويات فيها

الثانية : التوازن الطبيعي .. القضاء على الذئاب قد يؤدي الى التصحر !! .. كيف ؟
Stephen Durrant
Apr 20, 2012 Stephen Durrant rated it it was ok
Trying to balance my comments about this book is something of a challenge. From a literary perspective, "Wolf Totem" is weak. The dialogue is highly contrived and tiresomely didactic. What is being preached is fairly simple: the Mongols carry the spirit of the wolf, and it was this that enabled Genghis Khan to build his great empire. By contrast, the Chinese agriculturalists are sheep whose spiritless lifestyle makes them passive victims even as their ever-growing population means that they will ...more
Kriss
Aug 21, 2011 Kriss rated it it was amazing
The primary reason I read this book was because of the fact I needed another book--there was a sale, and I needed one more book to get the deal. I picked it up because I liked the color and the title, read the description, and thought it seemed fairly interesting. At the beginning of the book I was mildly interested; I kept waiting for something suspenseful and more interesting to happen. Until finally I became transfixed with the play of the words and the story itself.

I honestly found Wolf Tote
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Uci
Feb 25, 2010 Uci rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Setiap mendengar kata serigala, gambaran makhluk buas yang akrab dengan kegelapan langsung terlintas di pikiran, walaupun pada kenyataannya hanya segelintir orang yang pernah melihatnya secara langsung. Binatang ini begitu tebal diselimuti mitos dan misteri sehingga nyaris menjadi legenda. Beruang, harimau, atau gajah yang perkasa masih bisa dilihat di kebun binatang atau pertunjukan sirkus. Tapi serigala? Mereka lebih baik mati daripada menjadi tawanan.

Pesona serigala yang begitu kuat dan mengu
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Raghda Elwakil
Apr 22, 2015 Raghda Elwakil rated it it was amazing
رمز الذئب..
أول رواية لي في الأدب الصيني..
احببتها رغم أن لغتها صعبة شوي..
أعجبت بحب الذئاب للحرية وذكائها.. بانسجامها مع الطبيعة وقوة إرادتها.. :)

الرواية طويلة شوي لكنها رائعة.. ^^
نور روسيا
وقع اختياري عليها جذبني اسمها وتحمست لدى قراءتي مقدمتها والجوائز الحاصلة عليها ولكن في الحقيقة اصابني الملل وكدت اتركها ولكن شي ما في داخلي اجبرني على المتابعة فانا لا احب ان اترك شيئا بداته وايضا ليس كا مايعجبنا يجب ان نقراه ...
بدات اغوص في وصف الكاتب لما حوله وللحياة ماقبل سنوات
اعجبني اسهابه في وصف الطبيعة فهي عشقي وصف صيفها وشتائها وكل فصولها مع جمالها وقسوتها اعتقد انني اخذت درسا في ماوراء الطبيعة وعلم الارض والحيوان ..وصفه الدقيق لامم الحيوان من الذئب الى الكلاب وغزلان وحتى فئران والدائرة
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Renu_Ulzii
Jul 19, 2015 Renu_Ulzii rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Би энэ номыг "Үгэн сүргийн үхэрчин" хэмээх Хятад хэлний гүүш Доржсүрэнгийн Болдбаатарын орчуулгаар уншлаа. Энэ эхний хэвлэл нь орчуулагчийн орчуулгыг жаахан өөрчилсөн байсан гэсэн. Дараа нь Орчуулагч Болдбаатар үүнийг мэдээд эх хувиар нь дахин хэвэлсэн сураг дуулдсан.
Энэ номны үйл явдал нь Өвөр-монголын Олонбулагийн талд илгээлтийн эзэн нэрээр хэсэг залуучууд орж ирдэг ба тэдний 4(ЧэньЖэнь/хоньчин/, Ян Кө/хоньчин/, Гао Зянь Жун/үхэрчин/, Жан Зи Юань/адуучин/) нь Өвгөн Билэг,түүний хүү Бат, бэр
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Tumeeb13 Bold
Feb 24, 2011 Tumeeb13 Bold rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Үнэхээр сонирхолтой түүх,Хятадууд сая саяараа худалдаж авч уншсан гэхээр бүүр ч гайхалтай. Хэзээ нэгэн цагт би нисэж магадгүй ээ, гэдэг дуу шиг, хэзээ нэгэн цагт бид нэг нэгнээ байгаагаар нь хүлээж авч, ойлгох байх. Чоно гэдэг хийморьтой сайхан амьтан юм даа. Хятад зохиолчийн энэхүү номыг монголын алдарт орчуулагч /дуун хөрвүүлэгч/ Д.Болдбаатар орчуулсан нь үнэхээр чихэнд наалдацтай, нүд нь ургаж, сэтгэлд буусан сайхан бүтээл болжээ. Дуусгаад сэтгэгдлээ бичнээ.

Заа, дуусгачихлаа. Эндээс юу ойлгож
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Luz Balthasaar
Baru mulai baca, baru sampai di sekitar bagian si tokoh utama menakut-nakuti serigala dengan sanggurdi... akaka, bisa aja.

*Edit*

Nggak ngupdate status buku ini saking intensnya baca. Benar-benar cerita tragis tentang 'kemenangan' kerakusan atas kebijaksanaan. Lihai sekali pengarang menempatkan ceritanya; pertama-tama menarik aku ke padang rumput Mongolia, mengajari aku melihat kehidupan padang rumput dari mata Chen, belajar dari kebijaksanaan Bilgee, dan memukauku dengan kecerdasan, kekuatan, da
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Lara
Jan 07, 2013 Lara rated it it was amazing
Guh... Let me just...compose myself a bit. Deep breaths... Okay.

Man. I haven't cried like that in a loooong time. And I totally wasn't expecting it; I mean, it came out of nowhere. The first half of the book was interesting, and I liked the characters, and I found the conflicts between the nomadic and agricultural ways of life compelling, but... Well, it was slow going somewhat. Things happen at a plodding sort of pace, despite all the man vs. wolf battles going on. And a lot of the dialogue fel
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Rajanna
Feb 03, 2015 Rajanna rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Rajanna by: Lavanya Mohan
Brilliantly narrated and gripping tale of a Chinese student who witnesses the destruction of the Mongolian totem and their grassland by the Han farmers and the problem with China's policies regardless of regional considerations.

Kept me absorbed. The end is heavy. Must read.
Gillian Lloyd
Nov 03, 2015 Gillian Lloyd rated it it was amazing
At first I thought there would be just too much wolf information and set speeches to sustain my interest - how wrong I was. The Mongolian grasslands became such a precious and magical place that I followed their destiny with emotions charged. The book describes the battle of Chinese development - it's real, it's allegorical, it's personal. Well worth reading but beware of falling in love.
Leslie
Mar 16, 2015 Leslie rated it really liked it
4 stars. Although the ending is no surprise, tears still welled up in my eyes. The view of a lost way of life on the grasslands of Mongolia was fairly unsentimental most of the time, despite the narrator's somewhat heavy-handed infatuation with the wolf totem. ...more
Craig
Sep 06, 2014 Craig rated it liked it
Put it down to being something lost in translation, but the book's prose was rather dry. Nevertheless, it was an interesting cultural experience and I enjoyed reading of the Mongols symbiotic relationship with the grasslands on which they lived, especially their relationship with their cultural totem, the wolf. Whatever the book lacks, it pays to read it, especailly in this day of our collective enviromental concerns in having needlessly and excessively burned up far too much of our natural reso ...more
Patrizia
May 29, 2016 Patrizia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
Eindrückliche Story über die Menschen in der Mongolei ... Leider mit viel Tierleid verbunden
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Goodreads Librari...: Change page number please 3 13 Jul 14, 2015 10:06AM  
Literary Exploration: Final Thoughts *Spoilers* 2 10 May 23, 2015 01:42PM  
Literary Exploration: First Impressions *No Spoilers* 6 17 May 16, 2015 05:55AM  
Wolf totem 2 17 Feb 10, 2014 07:24PM  
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Jiang Rong (real name Lü Jiamin) was born in Beijing in 1946 and is a Chinese dissident and author, most famous for his best-selling 2004 novel Wolf Totem. He is married to fellow novelist Zhang Kangkang.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lü_Jiamin
More about Jiang Rong...

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“The grassland is a big life, but it's thinner than people's eyelids. If you rupture its grassy surface, you blind it, and dust storms are more lethal than the white-hair blizzards. If the grassland dies, so will the cows and sheep and horses, as well as the wolves and the people, all the little lives.” 4 likes
“Protecting the grassland is hard on us. If we don't kill wolves, they'll be fewer of us. But if we kill too many of them, there'll be even fewer.” 3 likes
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