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Yellow Emperor's Cure: A Novel

3.07  ·  Rating Details ·  152 Ratings  ·  21 Reviews

The richly woven, page-turning story of family ties, impossible love, and being a foreigner in a dangerous land

In a breakout novel that transports the reader to a brilliantly imagined, sensuously portrayed, dangerous point in history, Kunal Basu has written the tale of a man's journey that spans continentsand the limits of his faith in science. Lisbon, 1898: Antonio Maria

Hardcover, 319 pages
Published October 27th 2011 by The Overlook Press (first published 2011)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Célia Loureiro
Tirei muitos apontamentos ao Português Inquieto enquanto o lia. Primeiro apercebi-me que as páginas fluíam, ao início a justificação foi simples: era um escritor Indiano a escrever sobre um médico português no século XIX, 1898. Era um livro de época a falar de Santo António, sardinhas, noivas, manjericos e tradições antigas, tão nossas. Como podia não gostar?
Depois, apesar do ritmo continuar parecido – porque ao interesse por Portugal neste século, esmiuçado pelo tal Kunal
Feb 05, 2015 Rosie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Este livro deixou-me com uma sensação estranha no final. A partir de aproximadamente o meio do livro, a leitura tornou-se quase penosa, com o arrastar da acção e dos acontecimentos. Só na última parte é que a acção começa, com a chegada dos tão temidos boxers (rebeldes chineses) e com a necessidade de fuga do protagonista.
O Dr António Henrique Maria partiu de Lisboa para a China em busca da cura para a sífilis, uma doença horrorosa para a qual o único destino era a morte no final do século XIX.
I liked the solid touch, feel and smell of this book. I liked it that it dealt with history with lots of medical facts thrown in. I was in awe of the slow, melodious flow and the rich oriental and Spanish interwoven tapestry. I took a long time to complete the book as I didn't want to part with it soon.
But all these pleasant factors were negated by the last 40 or so pages which were haphazard, confusing, pallid and pointless.
The year is 1898...
This is the story of Antonio Maria, a young, prospe
Dec 17, 2011 Susan rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Seemed like a romance novel with premature ejacuation. Left me unsatisfied.
Graham Crawford
I wanted to like this because the history is so well researched, but in the end it was a let down. The prose is really clunky and the narrative wanders all over the place. There are no likable characters in this book - and that may have made it more historically accurate because the attitudes of that time are pretty noxious, but it does make it a hard and often tedious read.

The ending - which should have been a climax, is really rushed and fragmented, almost as though the writer had a list of po
J.S. Dunn
Jul 16, 2016 J.S. Dunn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 to 4
Engaging, well done tale that is reminiscent of reading a Ghosh novel [ : the Poppies trilogy] but set slightly later, after the opium wars, and largely in one area of China.

Fewer characters, simpler language, less detail, and overall left an impression of being less intense and satisfying than the work of Ghosh.
Dec 19, 2012 David rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: asian-lit
This book had great potential but the writing was not very good and the story lacked heart and warmth, the lovers seemed untrue to their characters earlier in the book.....
Feb 23, 2012 The-vault rated it really liked it
After having provided the readers with immaculate and intense books like The Japanese Wife and The Opium Clerk, Kunal Basu really disappointed me with his latest The Yellow Emperor’s Cure.

Lisbon, 1898: philandering surgeon Antonio Maria discovers his beloved father is dying of syphilis, scourge of both rich and poor. Determined to find a cure, Antonio sets sail for Peking to study under the renowned Dr. Xu, in the hope that traditional Chinese medicine has the answer that eludes the West. But Xu
Naina Sharma
Mar 24, 2012 Naina Sharma rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had almost forgotten how it felt to read a hard bound book, lost as we are in our paperbacks and ebooks culture. The Yellow Emperor's Cure is everything that I needed to motivate myself to read one again.

It fueled my continuing curiosity and obsession with China and its rich history; weaved an alternate world full of intrigue and danger; and was full of minuscule, intricate details. Details, which one has no way of judging if they are accurate or not, but you drown in them and their supposed a
Convoluted, politically charged and medically complex, this novel weaves a tight web about its main protagonist until neither he nor the reader is certain what to accept as truth or lies. At times the novel gets bogged down in its own rococo machinations, such as when Dr. Maria attends dinner parties or deals with the Chinese natives. When everybody is playing a game or setting a trap, it’s difficult to care for anybody as a human character; rather, they come off as being pieces on a board of an ...more
While the premise of the book is very interesting, clunky prose and a meandering plot lets down the reader. The prose is clunky and awkward, and it took effort to focus on what was happening on the pages. The writing is all over the place, and one never knows why the characters are saying and doing whatever they're saying and doing. The characters are very bland and uninteresting, and I found myself completely indifferent to their eventual fate. Finally, after wandering all over Lisbon and Pekin ...more
Sep 19, 2012 Lisa rated it liked it
The book drew me as I like historical romance that take place in different countries. Portugal and China fit the bill. I found the writing to be very visual and lyrical. It also gave me more insight into Chinese medicine. 2/3rds way through the book Basu went overboard with the political intrigue and it dragged on. I still would recommend this book.
Jul 12, 2012 Kiran rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lyrical, almost moving through delicate Chinese paintings. Kunal Basu takes the reader on such a glorious journey....I also recommend his book The Miniaturist. Another treat for the senses.
Aug 30, 2013 Tom added it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: b, china
Portuguese doctor's search for Sophia cure in Boxer China
Jun 16, 2014 Baljit rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Painful! really tried so hard to give the storyline a chance and gave up in the last 50 pages. There seems so much lengthy conversation between the different characters that never come to a point.
Sudama Panigrahi
Mar 25, 2012 Sudama Panigrahi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fabulous reading.
Mary Larrick
Nov 20, 2012 Mary Larrick rated it it was ok
Actually I didn't finish it. It was OK, but the editing was weak & I had a more compelling library book waiting for me, so I gave up & turned it back in.
Mar 13, 2012 Linda rated it liked it
I really liked this book at first, but it lost something as it went along. Also, the editing is poor which was really annoying.
Corina Câmpian
Corina Câmpian rated it liked it
Feb 25, 2017
sprint rated it really liked it
May 05, 2013
Reyna Shruti
Reyna Shruti rated it liked it
Aug 02, 2015
Joana rated it it was ok
Jan 29, 2017
Alan rated it it was ok
Apr 13, 2014
Nameeta rated it did not like it
Sep 15, 2012
Soumyajit Samanta
Soumyajit Samanta rated it it was ok
Oct 29, 2013
Raghav Kadaba
Raghav Kadaba rated it liked it
Aug 25, 2012
Rakesh rated it liked it
Sep 21, 2012
Aishwarya rated it really liked it
Apr 02, 2012
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Kunal basu was born in Calcutta. Raised by unorthodox parents, both litterateurs and political activists, he developed an early love for the arts: painting, acting and writing.

Since 2001, he has published four novels, a collection of short stories, written a few screen plays and (mostly unpublished) poetry.
More about Kunal Basu...

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