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One Man's Bible

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3.67  ·  Rating Details ·  701 Ratings  ·  78 Reviews
The Barnes & Noble Review
Like another Nobel Prize winner, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Gao Xingjian, China's leading novelist and playwright, mixes autobiographical details with fictional techniques to create indelible portraits of daily life under a harsh, dehumanizing political regime. In One Man's Bible, Gao gives us a profound meditation on a life marked by personal and
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Paperback, 464 pages
Published September 16th 2003 by Harper Perennial (first published April 1999)
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(showing 1-30 of 1,872)
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Samadrita
As I sit at my desk typing this out, there's a man thousands of miles away locked up somewhere in the darkest recesses of China's prison system, silently keeping tabs on the days that morph into months and the months that morph into years. His name is Liu Xiaobo and it has been 4 years since he has ceased to be a free man, sentenced to an 11-year term because he dared to have an opinion of his own.
And while reading this harrowing autobiographical novel, my thoughts were with Liu and the other an
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Meredith
I have read quite a bit of Chinese and Chinese-American fiction involving Mao Tse-tung, but none has driven home the cruelties and absurdities of the Cultural Revolution better than Gao Xingjian's dreamlike narrative. His two conflicting personalities--one entrenched in Cultural Revolution intrigue and the other reflecting upon it years later--hash it out in the second- and third-person points of view. This novel showcases absolute power corrupting absolutely and unveils an era during which anyt ...more
Lisa
Apr 16, 2011 Lisa rated it it was ok
I can't say that I enjoyed this book but it did make me more aware of what it must be like to live under a totalitarian state. In Stasiland by Anna Funder Stasiland: Stories from Behind the Berlin Wall, Funder is the narrator, an outsider viewing with shock, amusement, compassion or disbelief, but even an author as perceptive as she is cannot convey what it is like to be subject to the intellectual confusion it occasions.

Xingjian does. His narration seems first hand, written with a sense of imme
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Mircalla64 (free Liu Xiaobo)
l'uomo cinese è un uomo solo...

bellissima introspezione senza censure del pensiero di un uomo che, ovunque sia e con chiunque si accompagni, è sempre solo e lo sarà comunque...
è difficile spiegare a chi non è cinese cosa vuol dire vivere in Cina, forse solo un abitante dell'Unione sovietica sotto il terrore staliniano potrebbe capire
sono molti gli episodi che lui, l'uomo senza nome che narra la sua storia, racconta a Margarethe e tutti i suoi racconti vengono interrotti da una sola parola: perch
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Nick Wellings
3.7 stars.

Semi-fictionalised memoir, which seems to be Gao's modus operandi.

The last pages are good, where narrator says he is finally at peace with life. But God, how utterly terrifying the events he relates to us, caught in the whirlwind of Cultural Revolution. State condoned paranoia and madness and illimitable suffering. To be at peace after such personal hardship as we read here is no mean feat.

As with Soul Mountain, two main characters 'you' and 'he' are really Gao himself. A very succes
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Pere
Nov 29, 2015 Pere rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Un escritor chino, exiliado en París, reflexiona sobre su pasado en los años de la revolución cultural china. Un juicio en el que nada queda fuera y se expone con detalle la cruda realidad de un régimen denigratorio y brutal.

Una drama histórico novelado en el que se produce un intenso diálogo a tres niveles entre el “YO” protagonista escritor exiliado y liberado de su pasado que lo observa todo desde la distancia; Un “TÚ” protagonista intelectual, que no es otro que el “yo” que se auto interroga
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Conrado
Jun 29, 2011 Conrado rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
No planeo ni una suerte de análisis mayor de la obra, pero me siento en la obligación de hacer notar su calidad artística.
Gao Xingjian es un autor que me atrae a la vez que me presenta algunos serios problemas estéticos. Modernista de inspiración (sus dramas pertenecen al teatro del absurdo y es, a su vez, el traductor de Beckett al chino) esperaría ponerle fácilmente un par de etiquetas. Pero en cambio me encuentro con una visión —tal vez— más real de la vida, pero no una extrema que sólo vea n
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Elizabeth Bennet
May 16, 2016 Elizabeth Bennet rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is one of the those novels where you don't seem to want to pick it up but whenever you do, you can't seem to stop reading. I really liked it. The story is grim with the writer telling about the effects of maoism and cultural revolution on the people's lives. There are some vignettes of stories, and they are told in the form of flashbacks but starting with the end and then at a later flashback going in some sort of a chronological order. There are the writer's thoughts and ruminations about ...more
Caro_Cédric
Sep 01, 2011 Caro_Cédric rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: roman
Poignant!! La structure narrative décousue (au rythme des souvenirs du narrateur) renforce encore ce récit magnifique.
Byurakn
Jul 28, 2015 Byurakn rated it liked it
Mixed feelings about the book :/ I'm not sure if I liked it but I can't say I hated it.
Marie
Dec 28, 2015 Marie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Čeho všeho je člověk schopen - ve jménu ideologie - o tom je tahle kniha.
O lidské touze a vůli přežít a zachovat si aspoň trochu lidské důstojnosti a smyslu pro krásu - i to je takhle kniha.
Gao je malíř - a na jeho psaní je to poznat. Malíř, který vládne bravurně jazykem - máte u něj pocit, že každé slovo, každá věta je tisíckrát promyšlena , slovní veteš je nemilosrdně odstraněna a zůstanou jen slova - tahy štětce - která dotvářejí obraz. Obraz doby, kdy život jednotlivce neměl žádnou cenu a
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Haleth
Romanzo autobiografico. L'autore, Nobel per la letteratura nel 2000 con La montagna dell'anima, narra in forma romanzata la sua vita in Cina durante la Rivoluzione Culturale e le esperienze successive, fino all'espatrio. L'esposizione delle vicende segue il riaffiorare dei ricordi del protagonista, e non l'ordine cronologico degli avvenimenti. Una volta fatta l'abitudine allo stile volutamente scarno, la narrazione è abbastanza godibile. Un po' troppe pippe mentali del genere astratto, per i mie ...more
Teresa
Jun 12, 2013 Teresa rated it it was ok
I was torn between giving this 3 stars, but just couldn't. Once again I am mystified at the Noble Prize for this author - hopefully his plays which he is most noted for is the reason for the award or may be the committee just needed a Chinese writer to make the awards look more balanced and Gao was the only one they could find that was being published in the West. Not sure if it was his intention or if it was a poor translation which made the narrative shift in tense and point of view. The novel ...more
Max
Oct 13, 2012 Max rated it really liked it
To give this book less than four stars would be a travesty in my mind – I was all set to give it less earlier on because the translated writing is so raw, so almost devoid of feeling in the presence of so much hatred, pain and suffering. But then I realised, especially after reading several Chinese authors recently, that this is the outpouring of a Chinese man beaten into submission by repressive regimes and ever-changing Party doctrine – a man who has had much of his ability to feel taken away ...more
Stephen Durrant
Mar 14, 2010 Stephen Durrant rated it liked it
The narrator of Gao Xinjian's "One Man's Bible" survives the political chaos of China's Cultural Revolution to win a solitary but much-cherished freedom in the West. But through all the turmoil there is consistency of character: he stays aloof from "isms" and finds real meaning largely through literary and sexual expression, both intense experiences of the present where memory of the past is either absorbed into the the moment or pushed aside altogether. In one of the best sections of this book, ...more
Julio Cesar Cesar
Relata la historia de un escritor expatriado victima de la persecucion politica en la "revolucion cultural" de China.Incitado por Margarita(editora alemana victima de violacion a los 13)busca en los recovecos de su memoria memorias olvidadas y pasajes reprimidos de su historia en un intento por crear un vinculo sentimental independiente del acto sexual con una mujer.En su narrativa las motivaciones,razonmientos y sentimientos de los personajes quedan muy claras,son casi transparentes por lo cual ...more
theresa Younce
Apr 13, 2012 theresa Younce rated it liked it
I read this book about a year ago. I was conflicted about it. But now having read the other Chinese books, I plan to read this again. It is not easy to read since it is translated from the Chinese and is somewhat "stream of conscious" writing. But it really really gives a picture of China during the time of Mao and the Cultural Revolution. It was mind boggling to read about the fast changes of allegiances during this time. One month you are part of the "in group" with the government and then sud ...more
Hubert
Morbidly gripping. Set during China's cultural revolution, the novel is touted as a "fictional autobiography." The narrator is highly removed from any sense of sentimentality, yet you, the reader, keep reading on. The term page-turner usually refers to some light plot-driven fluff, but here I was flipping pages as one can't avert his eyes from a train wreck.

Gao recreates a world full of neurosis, mistrust, and paranoia, describing interpersonal relationships that are doomed to fail (and never ha
...more
Ashley
Apr 08, 2008 Ashley rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2008
My first posting was as follows:

So far, I'm not highly impressed but I'm only 50 pages in. Got up with amazing amounts of energy yesterday at 4:25am, and so I grabbed this off my shelf as I didn't want to turn on the lights in our bedroom to find Ovid, cuz then Nick would wake up. The author did win the Nobel prize, so he's not a bad writer...it's just not grabbing me yet.

Waiting to be sucked in...

And now, here's my final review:

Okay, this wasn't my favorite book. Never sucked me in, never felt
...more
Robert Drozda
Feb 06, 2013 Robert Drozda rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebooks
Gao Xingjian je horňák. Knihou nemihne se ženská postava bez ňaderného komentáře. Zvláštní autorův styl, kdy kolísá vyprávěním mezi ty/on je zajímavý, ale pro mě ne příliš do knihy a děje vtahující. Nimrání se v sobě a vůbec analýza myšlenková pocitová. Útěk k erotice, což v prudérní Číně šedesátých let obnášelo nemalá rizika a spousty nejistot. Řízené šílenství kulturní revoluce, Orwell v praxi. Nikoliv profláklý "velký bratr", to bych autorovi křivdil. Útěk dovnitř, obrácení se do sebe, protož ...more
Iñaki Tofiño
Jan 05, 2012 Iñaki Tofiño rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Dos voces, la del dramaturgo exiliado en Francia que viaja por el mundo (Hong Kong, Australia, sur de Francia, Barcelona) y la del joven funcionario arrastrado por la locura colectiva de la Revolución Cultural que le lleva de Pekín a una aldea al sur de la China, y una misma persona, el hombre solo, aquél que descubre la vacuidad de las ideologías y las religiones y busca en sus amantes una temporal conexión con otros seres humanos.
Sin concesiones, sin sentimentalismos, sin ambages. ¿Una histori
...more
Anastasia
Jul 12, 2016 Anastasia rated it liked it
Loved - the personal account through history that us not widely appreciated
Liked - the twists and turns and personal accounts
Not sure about - the skipping back and forth in time made a challenging topic harder to follow
Didn't Like - the plot line where everything results in sex not sure the narrators need for sex in every chapter added to the story line
Fraser
Apr 24, 2016 Fraser rated it it was ok
No at all what I expected. I thought it was going to get started into an in depth story...however it meandered in a weird and un overly enjoyable story. Then it just ended...without much of a ending.
Cong Peng
Mar 09, 2015 Cong Peng rated it really liked it
A forbidden Nobel Prize writer, a forbidden era. The reading experience feels like walking in the foggy dust.
Shane
Feb 24, 2009 Shane rated it liked it
An interesting insight into the treatment of dissident writers by the communist regime in China. The sexual abandon that the protagonist surrenders himself to seems conditioned by the constant threat that tomorrow, in his world, is uncertain. This theme occurs in novels I have read portraying similar uncertainty in the future - e.g. Isherwood's Berlin in the throes of WWII or Edeet Ravel's novels on modern day Israel under threat of terrorism and invasion. I wonder if the stock market crashes of ...more
Helen
Dec 28, 2011 Helen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I just finished watching Kim Jong Il's funeral procession - this book helped me understand some of the scenes particularly the weeping and wailing of the crowd while soldiers filmed them - presumably to check on who wasn't grieving enough. I found the book was light on plot and characters. I didn't feel much affection for our protagonist - but maybe that was the point. He was in a situation (trying to survive the cultural revolution) which forced him to make unpleasant choices. Not an easy read ...more
Bětka
Jan 09, 2013 Bětka rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: translate, cesky, 2013, moje
Na tuhle knihu jsem se těšila moc. Začátek se mi docela líbil, ale později jsem se v ději začala trochu ztrácet, vinou nejmenovaného hrdiny. To je ovšem jediná výtka k obsahu. Po formální stránce jsem měla problém především s překladem - některé věty mi přišly zbytečně kostrbaté a hlavně se mi nelíbilo, že vedle česky přeložených přízvisek jako např. "Starý Liu", "Velký Li", "Velký Tan" se objevila jména čínských politiků v mezinárodním překladu. Preferovala bych "Mao Ce-tung" a "Teng Siao-pchin ...more
Renee
May 15, 2008 Renee rated it really liked it
This is the second book I've read by author (first was Soul Mountain and equally as good). One Man's Bible is a profound meditation on the essense of writing, on exile, on the effects of political oppression on the human spirit, and how the human spirit can triumph. Great detail of China's revolutionaries, counterrevolutionaries, reactionaries, government propaganda and all those crazy things the Chinese call government. No matter how it is wrapped up, it is insane at best, and I continue to be ...more
Duncan
Aug 13, 2007 Duncan rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: someone who has never read something by a Chinese author.
Hard to do justice to a book that somehow balances the dialogue between individual and history. At home simultaneously drawing from the most ancient of Confucian texts as well as the dilemmas and aporias of postmodernism, this is a great novel for anyone looking to not quite get out of the Western circle of literature...meaning, if you're looking for a dialectic of "East" and "West", then this is something to pick up. Not quite Western and not quite Chinese...wonderfully breaks down the grand na ...more
Dan
Apr 22, 2007 Dan rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Literature Lovers, anyone interested in recent Chinese history
Gao Xingjian has rapidly become one of my favorite authors. His prose is very controlled, but (cliche alert) evocative of powerful emotions. His topic (at least in the two books I've read) seems to be nothing less than the nature of man as illustrated by his experiences during the Chinese Cultural Revolution. When you read this book, you get not only to experience a great artist grappling with basic questions of humanity, but you also get a powerful sense of what life was like in China during th ...more
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Gao Xingjian is a Chinese-born novelist, playwright, critic, and painter. An émigré to France since 1987, Gao was granted French citizenship in 1997. The recipient of the 2000 Nobel Prize in Literature, he is also a noted translator (particularly of Samuel Beckett and Eugène Ionesco), screenwriter, stage director, and a celebrated painter.
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“La libertad no es un derecho del hombre que concede el cielo, y la libertad de soñar tampoco se adquiere desde el nacimiento: es una capacidad que hay que preservar, una conciencia, sobre todo porque las pesadillas no paran de perturbarla.” 1 likes
“Although as an individual Gao had readily denounced the Chinese authorities for the events of 4 June in the French and Italian media, he refused to compromise his integrity as a writer. His stance angered both political sides.” 1 likes
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