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The Corpse Reader

3.8 of 5 stars 3.80  ·  rating details  ·  1,524 ratings  ·  210 reviews
After his grandfather dies, avid scholar and budding forensic investigator Cí Song begrudgingly gives up his studies to help his family. But when another tragedy strikes, he’s forced to run and also deemed a fugitive. Dishonored, he has no choice but to accept work as a lowly gravedigger, a position that allows him to sharpen his corpse-reading skills. Soon, he can deduce ...more
Kindle Edition, Reprint edition, 494 pages
Published May 28th 2013 by AmazonCrossing (first published 2011)
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(showing 1-30 of 2,906)
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Marta Querol
Una novela que aunque parezca histórica es en realidad un thriller policiaco ambientado en la China medieval. La novela podría dividirse en dos partes, la primera en que el protagonista, Ci Song, emprende una arriesgada huída junto a su hermana pequeña para buscar un futuro que ya no es posible en su aldea, y la segunda, trepidante, inquietante, en que ejercerá ese oficio de lector de cadáveres que da título a la novela a petición del emperador. Toda la novela tiene un buen ritmo y se hace amena ...more
Anne Hawn Smith
I really enjoyed this book. It was so refreshingly new. It is set in the thirteenth-century Tsong Dynasty. It is based on the work of a real person, Cí Song, who is considered to be the founding father of forensic science.

The book starts out with Ci Song as a scholar who is supported by his grandfather who is a noted scholar. Unfortunately, the grandfather dies and Song is forced to return home and become subject to his crass and dissipated older brother. When a crime is committed, he is forced
...more
Bob
Simultaneously ingenious, compelling, and frustrating. Garrido's historical fiction paints real-life Chinese scientist Ci Song as a Quixotic adventurer, whose problems are caused by equal parts bad luck and bad decisions. The first half documents a trouble-prone journey and you start to get angry at Ci's insistence on trusting the wrong people and making the wrong choice. The second half is much more interesting, opening up a complex murder mystery in the courts of ancient China. Ci may be a sav ...more
Amy
Sep 14, 2013 Amy added it
Shelves: 2013, abandoned
Everyone seems to love this book on Goodreads. Based on the description, I really thought I would, too. At first glance, it's right up my alley. But the author never met a deus he didn't try to machina.

Really, it was rather like having a date with the hottest guy--and I mean hot, really hot, in the dangerous, really good tattoos kind of way, which is the only analog for 13th century China, corpses, police procedural, and textual interpretation I can think of--you've ever picked up in a bar. I wa
...more
Rachel
Another book I expected to really enjoy, but ended up disliking.

Set in ancient China around a boy with a knack for forensics. So CSI - hundreds of years ago.

But I had several problems...

First, the hero was supposed to really, really smart. But he wasn't. Most of his giant leaps of inspiration were stupid. And what's worse, most happened because the person he was talking (working against) was an absolute idiot. (The interaction over the sale of his brother's land is a good example of this.)

There
...more
Patrice Hoffman
I have finished The Corpse Reader by Antonio Garrido and am excited about this novel. The Corpse Reader tells the story of Ci Song, a young scholar who's been dealt the worst hand possible. I really don't want to give too much away in regards to his family and why he must flee but the story is harrowing and only someone as bright and resourceful as Ci is able to overcome the odds set up against him.

While trying to stay incognito and escape the authorities, Ci finds work as a gravedigger where h
...more
Annette Gisby
This book was wonderful, so different to anything I've ever read before. Think of it more like a biography of Song Ci, rather than an outright mystery/crime book, although there are details of mysteries and crimes within.

It is set in medieval China, an era and place I am not too familiar with, but the book seemed to be researched very well as far as I could tell. There was nothing that jolted me out of the story for being too modern or not suited to the place. I loved finding out about all the d
...more
Diane S.
3.5 A very interesting look back on the 13th century and the Tsong Dynasty and a character names Ci, named after the famous Song CI, who is considered the forefather of the modern day CSI style of forensics.
One of the most notable thing about this book, is that the translator has done such a marvelous job that the story just flows very naturally. This is not always the case with translated novels and so often the translations can ruin what is actually a good story. The story itself is very inter
...more
Adam
This is a very good story, but I felt there was something lost in translation. The writing style was too plain, seemingly stripped of the original author's intent. The story simply seemed to lack emotional depth due to its style. Very imaginative and innovative, otherwise.
April Hamilton
I had high hopes for The Corpse Reader, which was described as a tale of rudimentary forensic science being employed by a bright young peasant in imperial China, but I think I'm gonna quit it. A decapitation is revealed in the foreword, the protag's brother looks guilty but there's something fishy afoot, and from there on in it's just been one crisis after another for the protag as he sets his mind to clearing the brother's name. I usually LOVE historical fiction and I'm fascinated by the histor ...more
Pat Cummings
I don't read many mysteries. As a genre, they usually don't have enough "draw" for me; I look for more than is offered in most run-of-the-mill who-dunnits. But a novel about the dawn of forensic science in China, first written in Spanish (and then translated into Japanese and Dutch, among other languages) sounded like it would appeal on more than one level.

As I read it, I kept seeing parallels to other historical mysteries: The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco, The Blooding by Joseph Wambaugh
...more
J Dayton
I'm new to this site and very pleased to find a community of like minded bibliophiles.
Let's have a bit more conversation about The Corpse Reader. I've read through the collection of criticisms and feel obliged to put forth my thoughts about Antonio Garrido's work. Many criticize what they feel is an overly long and slow beginning. I feel this is essential to the full experience and enjoyment of this work. For those who confuse their sex life with literature, think of this as a prolonged and very
...more
Stacy
In some ways Ci’s life story arc reminded me just a little bit of Lin from Shantaram. Yes, a different country and centuries apart, but in both there is this feeling that things cannot possible get any worse…until they do. That book too was loosely based on real life. Ci Song is based on the first forensic scientist, the one who literally wrote the books on the field. Since there are only about 5 paragraphs to be found about the man, Aontonio Garrido had license to make a great story. And he did ...more
Sónia
Um thriller muito bem construído, cheio de mistério e reviravoltas, em que o espírito humilde e, em simultâneo, lutador de Cí Song dá cartas e nos dá a possibilidade de adquirir ou consolidar conhecimentos sobre a Medicina Legal da China da Idade Média. Um retrato duro e cru de um país faustoso no tempo dos imperadores.

Com uma excelente pesquisa histórica, este livro mistura ficção e realidade, num universo fascinante. António Garrido teve uma grande preocupação com a descrição exemplar da país
...more
Hilary
Based on the life of Ci Song, the world's first forensic scientist, this is a historical mystery set in 13th century China. The level of detail is astounding at times, and it's obvious a lot of research went into this.

There were a few small anachronisms, mainly in characters' speech patterns which were sometimes a little too 20th century English colloquial, and I'm still not certain about the Chinese ants, but nothing jolted me out of the story so I'll let the age at foot-binding go.

In style it
...more
Sharon
Jun 23, 2013 Sharon rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Clair Willis, Terri Durant
Shelves: own
I loved this book. It was one of the few books that I have come across that had a bit of everything I like in literature.
The story is a historical fiction/murder mystery set in Medeval China. Ci, the main character, was a real man who lived in China at that time. There is little known about the man himself, but he did wrote four or five volumes about forensics science stuff. Things like how long a corpse had been dead by the amount and types of insects on/in it. How bruises look when made whi
...more
Elaine Bergstrom
Here's a novel featuring the historic genius Tsu Sung, who wrote the first books on forensic science in 12th Century China. It is simply written; at first, I thought too simply but as the story progressed the mystery at its core made the book impossible to put down both for the mystery at the core of the story as for the insightful look at an antique culture where respect is often more important than life itself. The story opens with Tsu (called Ci Song in the novel) as a boy in rural China, hop ...more
Angela Nunes
há livros que são lidos com grandes espectativas e este foi um deles,mas superou-as!
um livro que retrata uma China do séc XII,magestosa,faustosa e gloriosa dos tempos idos dos imperadores.
Ci,o aluno brilhante da academia de Ming,o "leitor de cadáveres",cujo dom preconizado pelos seus professores e mentores,fez com que se afincasse no estudo e o levasse a ser o primeiro patologista forense da história.
um livro apaixonante,com um enredo e uma trama muito bem elaborada,que nos remete para sua leitu
...more
Liz
I really enjoyed this book. It was well written and loosely based on a real person.

It was a bit slow in places and the main character Ci had misfortune following him wherever he went. Sometimes I wished the author had sped up the pace and reduced the amount of unfortunate incidents Ci landed himself in.

I liked the twists and turns of the plot and how the book ended.

There was a lot of interesting information in the books that I sometimes sounded to me to be too advanced for that era but these tho
...more
Cedar Sanderson
A historical novel set soundly and appropriately in 13th century China, I didn't catch the usual historical novelization errors of imposing our cultural mores on the setting, which pleased me. The tale itself was gripping, and kept me absorbed in the characters. Although graphic at times, this was a more brutal era, one full of filth and blood outside the hidden jewels of the Palace where Song Cí eventually finds himself.

Through medical training in a world which was reluctantly giving up the ide
...more
Kylie
There are two types of frustration when reading. First the good kind, when roadblocks appear on a character's journey and the character overcomes them, but it slows them down. There there is the second kind, where a character does, bluntly, stupid things, time and again, that don't fit with the traits/time/culture or whatever of the character.

Sadly this had too many of the second kind of frustrations, so really, it is a 2.5 star read. It was only right at the very end in the courtroom scenes tha
...more
Alexander Fitzgerald
I picked up Antonio Garrido’s The Corpse Reader because it was a $1.99 deal for one day on the Kindle. I never buy into any of those, but I greatly enjoy reading about mythical China, so I took a shot.

There was a time I greatly enjoyed this novel: My wife and I were out at a jazz club, where we had to wait an hour for the opener to finish before she could perform. Unable to speak with my wife I cracked open this book (and by ‘cracked open’ I mean I turned on my Kindle). While the jazz was medioc
...more
Marko Vasić
Fenomenalan psihološki roman. Obilje obrta i do samog kraja neizvesnost i iščekivanje. Pisac ne dozvoljava ni trenutak predaha ni opuštanja već svako poglavlje završi neizvesnošću koja zahteva da se čitanje nastavi dalje i dalje sve dok se čitalac ne umori. Fenomenalno oslikan lik glavnog junaka i tragičnost njegove sudbine. Na samom početku romana se već pred čitaoca postavlja i antijunak koji će do samog kraja da ostane "nevinašce". Odlično oslikan unutrašni svet glavnog junaka i njegova borba ...more
Julie Stout
Admittedly, historical fiction is not my favorite genre, so I don't read a lot of it. Answer this question for me: Is it acceptable to Forrest Gump improbable and incorrect major technologies' develop into these novels? I thought the whole point of the genre was accurately depicting a setting.

I suspect this would be a 2 or 1 star from me if I weren't so ignorant of Chinese history. The story is perfectly fine as sci fi/fantasy. If we are told this tale takes place in an alternate universe, if th
...more
Amy
Wow, wow, wow, WOW!

Awesome novel about a little known historical figure. The blend of fact and fiction is balanced perfect, is not over the top, and just whets the readers appetite for more about the father of modern CSI techniques.

This bio-faction novel about Song Ci is a wonderful example of how history and fiction (and mystery) can be fused together is a highly readable and incredibly palatable style.

Love!
Diane
This is an interesting, very detailed historical mystery set in early 13th century China, and features a true-life character, Ci Song, called the founding father of CSI-style forensics. He wrote a handbook for coroners, "Collected Cases of Injustice Rectified."

The story got off to a rather melodramatic start with one disaster after another happening to Ci Song. It was like Oliver Twist with a Chinese overlay. This was translated from Spanish and the translation has a rather rough feel to it. The
...more
Christophe Jung
On ressort très partagé de la lecture de ce long roman historique particulièrement bien documenté. Il faut malheureusement surmonter les 300 premières pages pour qu'une "enquête" proprement dite commence. Avant de parvenir à cette enquête passionnante, il faut surmonter un enchainement de catastrophes plus terribles les unes que les autres qui s'abat sur le héros. Celui-ci apparait dès lors comme une sorte de monstre maudit. Il s'autoflagelle en permanence, se méprise lui-même, s'accuse de tous ...more
Ryan Rauber
This surprised me as to how good it was. It's set in 13th century China and follows Ci Song, one of the pioneers of forensic science. It's historical fiction, but Ci and many of the characters in the book are real from history. The first half follows Ci's story from childhood to his time at university. The second half revolves around a murder/mystery and a crime drama, involving the Emperor of China and his court. I found the forensic science in this fascinating, and can see how all these CSI sh ...more
Richard R., Martin
This is a great mystery novel about a real person - Ci Song, a Chinese scholar/doctor/sheriff of the early 13th century who was the first CSI. Not much is really known about Ci Song except for some basic facts but, as the appendix to this book tells, he wrote a 5 volume book on studying corpses and crime scenes. Without much actually known about Ci the author has crafted a great whodunit story with CI as the main protagonist. The author has also done a great deal of research into the Chinese cul ...more
Benjamin
The Corpse Reader
Meh. I have to confess: I don't like mysteries, and this is one. This book was selected by my book club, and I would have put it down except that I felt a duty to read it.

That said, the novelized bio of Ci Song had its moments. Song, who lived in twelfth-century China, is renown as an early pioneer of forensic science. He wrote and published in his field several books, many of which survive today.

Though the book received an international award in Spain, I found it in parts tedio
...more
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Es Ingeniero Industrial y reside en Valencia, en donde trabaja como profesor del Master de Diseño de Transporte en el Centro de Formación de Postgrado de la Universidad Politécnica de Valencia y profesor de la Escuela Superior de Diseño Industrial en la Universidad Cardenal Herrera-CEU. Es director de una empresa de consultoría de diseño de automóviles, y escribe artículos en prensa especializada. ...more
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