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Lenin's Kisses

3.47  ·  Rating Details  ·  117 Ratings  ·  26 Reviews
A mystifying climatic incongruity begins the award-winning novel Lenin’s Kisses—an absurdist, tragicomic masterpiece set in modern day China. Nestled deep within the Balou mountains, spared from the government’s watchful eye, the harmonious people of Liven had enough food and leisure to be fully content. But when their crops and livelihood are obliterated by a seven-day sn ...more
Hardcover, 592 pages
Published October 2nd 2012 by Grove Press (first published 2003)
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Jan 19, 2016 Lisa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Yan Lianke is the author of Dream of Ding Village, which was longlisted for the 2011 Man Asian Literary Prize, and shortlisted for the International Foreign Fiction Prize. (See my review). He lives in China, but is able to skirt censorship to write witty fables exposing corruption and greed – so far, without interference. However, in Lenin’s Kisses, he has adopted a cunning strategy to allude to the constraints under which he works.

As soon as you start reading the novel, you subliminally notice
Jan 06, 2013 Librariasaurus rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This is one of the single worst books I have ever read. I can mostly put this down to the meaning being lost in the translation, given that its author Yan Lianke is one of China's most celebrated writers.
That being said, this simply doesn't work as a book of English language fiction. There are several stories happening at once and no answers and very few resolutions offered at its ending. Characters are self-centred and obtuse and settings are average at best.
The English translation comes acro
May 04, 2013 Tony rated it liked it
LENIN’S KISSES. (2004; Eng. Ed. 2013). Yan Lianke. ***.
This is a clever novel from a well-known Chinese writer who has been the recipient of numerous awards for his previous works. It is an extended satire on the Chinese quest for money and capital investment that the country went through during the 1990s. The story is set in a small village named Liven. As we are introduced to the town, it is in the middle of a summer snow storm. Aside from its unusual nature, the storm manages to ruin the crop
May 22, 2013 Viviane rated it really liked it
I read the Chinese version, which seems quite different from the English translation. I was so impressed by another book (The Four Books, which hasn't been translated into English yet) that I decided to attend the Int'l Man Booker's Reading event in Southbank Centre in London last week. So the only translation of this book I heard was from the reading at the event. I have to say the English translation made the text seem a lot more beautiful. The original language is quite different, very crude ...more
Sep 25, 2015 Kåre rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
'Lenins kys' har jeg læst for at komme omkring anden asiatisk litteratur end Murakami. Ligheden med hans forfatterskab og denne bog er berøringen med det overnaturlige eller det der ligger uden for naturligt. Som et stykke fremmed kultur har bogen været spændende at læse. Den har taget mig steder hen, jeg ikke vidste fandtes. Jeg synes også fablen om umenneskelighed i revolutionens navn er et plus for bogen. Dens stillege er set før, men også sjove. Når det er sagt, er jeg ikke blevet for alvor ...more
Full Stop
Jun 11, 2014 Full Stop added it
Shelves: fall-2012

Review by Adam Beaudoin

Lenin’s Kisses, the latest work from the acclaimed Chinese novelist Yan Lianke, now published in English by Grove/Atlantic, is a complex, if hyperbolic, portrayal of contemporary Chinese society. Its characters: peasants and low-level governmental officials live lives rearranged by the forces of an encroaching economy. Ultimately, the book’s goal is to address these forces with a combination of the fantastic and the absurd.

It is set
Jorge Guajardo
This is an excellent piece of literature and one of the most illustrative works on China. Just as García Márquez helps the reader understand Latin America, anyone wanting to understand China should read this book by Yan Lianke.
Mar 14, 2014 Rodrigo rated it really liked it
É a primeira vez que leio um livro de um autor chinês. A sensação é de uma estranheza enriquecedora. Poder olhar o mundo por olhos tão diferentes é muito valioso. O livro trata das transições da China comunista (pré e pós revolução), assim como da atual e peculiar abertura ao capitalismo. Há muita ironia e algo que só posso entender como brutalidade na história. As arbitrariedades de um regime comunista agridem bastante, ainda mais por serem justificadas pela causa. Ao mesmo tempo, o capitalismo ...more
Feb 24, 2016 Laura rated it liked it
I laughed out loud in parts and was fascinated in others. Biting satire and quite daring too, considering it was published in China, to some acclaim.
I did find some of the long explanations too much. Perhaps I just didn't have the patience for them. it slowed the pace down considerably. Furthermore, I think I prefer things to be part of the text, because it keeps the momentum going and keeps the author hidden. I don't always want to be reminded that he/she is there.
Really interesting portrayal o
Lars Poulsen
"Lenins kys" af Yan Lianke, er noget af det mest mærkværdige jeg har læst meget længe.

Lianke er en kinesisk forfatter, og "Lenins kys" foregår da også i Kina. Jeg vil ikke udelukke at et dybere kendskab til kinesisk kultur, eller bare kendskab til kinesisk kultur i al almindelighed, kunne have medvirket til at give bogen en eller anden form for mening. Men jeg har ikke det kendskab, og jeg forstod ikke bogen.

I en afkrog af Kina, ligger byen Lykken. Dens beboere er allesammen invalide i en eller
May 04, 2014 Say rated it really liked it
Incredible book telling of the lives and fate of the villagers of Liven in the Balou Mountains.

The fictional story of the village and villagers flips between past and present. It illustrates the depressing nature of short term politics and yearnings for power; as well as the impact of money on people and the prevalence of discrimination over time.

The translation is direct and funny and takes the sting out of some of the less savoury sections describing violence and rape.
Sep 10, 2015 Mohita rated it really liked it
Each chapter is odd. That is to say, there are no chapters numbered as 2 or 4 or 6. The book is a story of footnotes. This is odd yet beautiful because of Yan Lianke's reasons behind it. Nothing can be even or fair in his China.

There are stories in stories and nothing unfolds as per your liking. It is slow in phases but it is, definitely, worth holding on to. Worth finishing.
Pep Bonet
Jul 02, 2015 Pep Bonet rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novel-la, xinesa
I have not fully enjoyed this book. I had read a book by the same author -Dream of Ding Village- and I had found it very interesting. A book with a Chinese rhythm, with a story which is clear, where sins of modern China were exposed. But Lenin's kisses is quite different. Very slow rhythm, footnotes which are short stories in themselves, a narrative line on Lenin which seems to get lost at a certain point and a feeling that this book comes from another world, an unknown world.

I must admit that i
Michael O'Donnell
Feb 07, 2015 Michael O'Donnell rated it really liked it
A hard read and not very fulfilling and yet......

A view of China and its dissidents. Delves into the motivations. It does not work as English literature but it works as a piece of literature. In good reads do we weight popularity or art?
Jan 01, 2016 Cecilie rated it liked it
Shelves: owned
Mye er nok tapt i oversettelsen her. Boka har noen av trekkene som gjorde Landsbyens blod så god, men er rotete og til tider utrolig forutsigbar.
Jan 19, 2013 Wally rated it liked it
A forgotten village of disabled people in China is brought into mainstream society by a narcissistic party leader, using them in his scheme to build a shrine to Lenin (and himself). At the same time a village elder fights to return the village to its isolated past. Filled with both humor and sorrow, I understand this story to be an allegory for the injustices inherent to all societies. The author has a unique style of repetition and attention to details that was a welcome change to me. (I enjoye ...more
May 23, 2013 Tuck rated it really liked it
wow, a full grown magical world of podunk china, where everybody is crippled in some way, but this allows them to "live under the radar" of chairman mao's bright ideas (for awhile anyway). lots of character threads and their plot lines, so author uses some interesting techniques to keep everybody straight and going forward. so for comparison sake, a communist chinese genuis writer who somehow is the twisted amalgamation of david foster wallace, bolano, and garcia marquez.
i guess perhaps not a re
Vincent Lam
Jul 26, 2012 Vincent Lam rated it really liked it
'Lenin's Kisses' shines with both the lyrical flourishes of magical realism and the
keenly sharpened knives of great satire. The reader joins the inhabitants of the village
of Liven as they confront the great upheavals of 20th Century Chinese history armed with
both whimsy and their obsessive determination to prevail. This tale is at once
breathtaking and seriously funny. Anyone who wishes to understand the psychic world-view
of the modern People's Republic of China must read this fine novel.
Nov 30, 2014 Jane rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: male, borrowed, china
Tragic, funny, then more tragic. Clever and poetic and educational. But I wouldn't say I so much enjoyed it as felt it was important to read.
Robert Hyman
Nov 19, 2012 Robert Hyman rated it it was amazing
Lenins kyss på norsk er en episk roman som dekker Kinas historie siden frigjøringen i 1949; men også med referanser langt lengere tilbake i tida. Det er fortalt med en humor som gjør at du vil flire høyt; mens i andre steder er du nødt til å gråte. Jeg kan ikke anbefale denne bøken nok, les den!
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Sep 02, 2014 b bb bbbb bbbbbbbb rated it did not like it
Gave it a try, but couldn't be bothered to read more than 5 chapters. The writing, characters and storytelling were bland and generally uninspired. Even if some of the problem was due to translation, the source material is still lacking.
Stefan Pettersson
Rolig och eftertänksam. Lianke visar att kineserna inte bara besitter stor visdom utan även en rejäl dos humor. Jag kan verkligen rekommendera den här boken, läs för Guds skull!
Jeff Christensen
Jan 07, 2013 Jeff Christensen rated it really liked it
Social satire of the highest order. Communism, capitalism, and corrupt local officials are all far game in this wildly inventive novel about a commune of disabled peasants.
Martin Z
Jul 02, 2013 Martin Z rated it it was amazing
A masterpiece from Yan Lianke, with all what it takes. However, I noticed the English version that I had (Australian) was way, way bellow the forceful original.
Jul 01, 2015 Zachary rated it really liked it
Makes me want to spend the rest of my days livening somewhere deep in the Balou mountains.
Eemil marked it as to-read
May 02, 2016
reademption rated it really liked it
May 01, 2016
Luna Stašáková
Luna Stašáková marked it as to-read
Apr 30, 2016
Elin Wikander
Elin Wikander marked it as to-read
Apr 28, 2016
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Yan Lianke (simplified Chinese: 阎连科; traditional Chinese: 閻連科; pinyin: Yán Liánkē; Wade–Giles: Yen Lien-k'e, born 1958) is a Chinese writer of novels and short stories based in Beijing. His work is highly satirical, which has resulted in some of his most renowned works being banned.

He started writing in 1978 and his works include: Xia Riluo (夏日落), Serve the People (为人民服务), Enjoyment (受活), and Drea
More about Yan Lianke...

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