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To Live

4.17  ·  Rating Details ·  2,563 Ratings  ·  295 Reviews
An award-winning, internationally acclaimed Chinese bestseller, originally banned in China but recently named one of the last decade's ten most influential books there, ""To Live tells the epic story of one man's transformation from the spoiled son of a rich landlord to an honorable and kindhearted peasant.
After squandering his family's fortune in gambling dens and brothe
Paperback, 250 pages
Published August 26th 2003 by Anchor Books (first published January 1st 1993)
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Cymric The ox is evidence that Fugui has achieved wisdom and compassion in his final years. His gesture of spending his money to save the ox's life shows how…moreThe ox is evidence that Fugui has achieved wisdom and compassion in his final years. His gesture of spending his money to save the ox's life shows how far he has come from his former life of folly and cruelty.(less)

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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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May 30, 2014 Praj rated it really liked it
It had been slightly more than 14 hours since my stomach had its last morsel of food. Compared to those numerous stomachs that for months become a perfect stranger to the concept of food, a mere 14 hours seems negligible. Yet, my stomach was growling in agony. Call me silly or juvenile! It was then that I had decided to confirm my skepticism over Youqing’s words. The cup of rice that lay in a comatose position couple minutes ago, was now ferociously gulping the simmering salted water. The rice a ...more
A spare and wrenching tale of rural life in China and the tragedies of one family’s survival of the social and economic hardships associated with the Nationalist Revolution and later the Communist Cultural Revolution. There is a lot of similarity to “The Good Earth”, but I liked it better for not feeling so much like a didactic morality tale. Written much later (1993) by a resident of modern China, it slips an almost absurdist, comic view of the mistakes and excesses of former regimes past the c ...more
Dec 20, 2011 Kay rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: take a step back and look
Recommended to Kay by: mao laoshi
I was surprised to see that Yu Hua wrote this. My first and most lasting impression of Yu Hua is The Past and the Punishments, an excruciatingly gruesome novel with poignant political commentary. Though set against the backdrop of Nationalist and then Communist takeover of China, To Live isn't surreal nor is its narrative misty and shaded like in Punishments. Rather, the tone of To Live is a strange mix of slapstick funny mingled with sorrow. The writing style was also more casual and blunt. It ...more
Deniz Balcı
Jun 02, 2016 Deniz Balcı rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: çin-edebiyatı
Yu Hua, Çin çağdaş romancılığında önemli bir yere sahip yazar. Daha önce Çin Edebiyatından ilk döneme istinaden Lu Sin, sonraki kuşağa örnek olarak Gao Xingjian gibi yazarları okuma fırsatımız olmuşken çağdaş dönemin Mo Yan ile birlikte en önemli yazarı olarak gösterilen Yu Hua'nı ancak okuyabilmek geç ama güzel bir tecrübe oldu. 2000 senesinde Gao Xingjian'ın, 2012 senesinde de Mo Yan'ın 'Nobel Edebiyat Ödülü'nü almaları; dünyanın gözünü buraya çevirmesi açısından önemli oldu. Uzak doğu ülkeler ...more
Selin Secen
Jul 28, 2016 Selin Secen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fazlasıyla yorucu bir deneyim idi Yaşamak'ı okumak. Edebi açıdan bir Gao Xingjian kadar tatmin olduğumu elbette söyleyemem, öyle bir derinlik yoktu çünkü ancak bir hayata bu denli büyük dramları sığdırmak, üstelik de ülke ve dönem nedeniyle hepsinin de gerçek olabileceğini bilmek çok kötüydü. Bilmediğim bir coğrafyanın acısını Fugui'yi lime lime ederek anlatmayı seçmiş Yu Hua. Birbirlerine tutunarak mutlu olmaya çalışan insanları da yavrusunu annesinden koparır gibi çekip atmış hayatın dışına. B ...more
Mar 08, 2016 Sieran rated it really liked it
I read the original Chinese version by the way, so it might have had a different effect on me.

It's so touching. ^^ Feels like I just lived a whole life after reading this. I also really love that philosophy at the end of it all--you've gotta keep living no matter how much miserable your life is. The important thing is that you're still alive, you're still living on.

(view spoiler)
May 16, 2016 Hakan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
kahramanımız fugui, romanımız fugui'nin hayat hikayesini anlatıyor. fugui'nin hikayesinde çin'in yakın dönem tarihinin derin izleri var. fugui'nin hikayesinde alabildiğine yokluk ve yoksulluk, fugui'nin hikayesinde akıl almaz kayıplar, yıkımlar, ölümler, ölümler var. fugui'nin hikayesi çoğu yazarın, inandırıcılığı olmaz diye yazmayacağı kadar acı bir hikaye. kötü romanlarda ya da filmlerde olur hani, okuyucu/izleyici önce duygulanıp ağlamaya başlar, hikaye gözyaşlarıyla ilerler ilerler ve sonra ...more
Feb 08, 2015 Hadrian rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, chinese
A moving story of dealing with immense personal loss, although it was hampered by the lumpy translation. I'll need to read the original for a more complete response.
Nov 15, 2015 Dominic rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favourites

At first, I wasn't sure if I was going to like this book or not.

There are no chapters, and the style of writing (even though translated) feels very much like a Chinese written book. Which I guess really started to grow on me as the story progressed.

The story of "To Live" is really a sad one, but a realistic one at the same time. Life is suffering, and nobody seems to suffer more by the fate of their loved ones than the main character Fugui. What is truly remarkable is that even though fate can b
Sep 03, 2016 Katri rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2016
Jos edellisen kirjan kohdalla pohdin olenko koskaan lukenut Thaimaahan sijoittuvaa kirjaa, niin tämän kirjan kohdalla täytyy myöntää, että sivistykessäni taitaa olla myös Kiinan kokoinen aukko. Olen aiemmin ainakin yhden kiinalaisen kirjoittaman kirjan lukenut varmasti, mutta hatara on tuntemukseni muuten.

Sitä paikkasikin nyt hetki sitten suomenenttu Elämänkaari (joka tosin on julkaistu alunperin jo 1993). Kirja pääsi omalle lukulistalleni samasta syystä kuin se on kohonnut bestsellerin asemaan
Tsung Wei
Aug 20, 2016 Tsung Wei rated it really liked it
I should have read this in the original language but I would have taken forever. So I read this in English with bits and pieces in Chinese. Most of it looks correctly translated, but with a few liberties, especially the use of Western expletives.

This story is an epic tragedy. It traces the misfortunes of the Xu family over a few decades as they face one catastrophe after another. Their trials and tribulations stand out against the backdrop of military and civil strife in China from the 1930s to
Mark LaFlaur
Mar 28, 2013 Mark LaFlaur rated it it was amazing
Briefly for now—I’ll add more later—this is one of the best books I have ever read. The story ranges all over human experience, from birth to death (and more death, and birth again), squandering of fortune, learning the hard way what really matters in life. One quick example will show: The main character, Fugui, goes from his house on the outskirts of town into the village to get a doctor (that he can barely afford) to come see his mother, who may have had a stroke, but before he can get the doc ...more
Aug 22, 2012 Louis marked it as to-read
Yu Hua's novel, To Live, is truly a great piece. As great writing should do, Yu does a nice job of helping the reader get a bit of a feel of what it was like to live in rural China around the time of the cultural revolution. But this is just part of what makes the story compelling. Fugui, the main character, experiences significant character transformation as goes from being the son and heir of a wealthy landowner to a poor, struggling farmer who seems to continually suffer great losses. Despite ...more
Feb 09, 2016 Cris rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
No me lo he leído, me lo he bebido.
La traducción es excelente, cercana y a la vez que transporta a aquella China de derroche, de riquezas, de nobles; a aquella China de cambios, de pobreza, de hambre. Impredecible, donde la muerte espera paciente, o se impacienta.
¿Qué mejor que las vivencias relatadas de la boca de un anciano para conocer la historia?
Desde los ojos de Fugui, observamos cómo su propia evolución personal se va deshojando según las adversidades a las que debe hacer frente para, e
Mar 01, 2015 Kalena rated it it was amazing
Honestly one of the best books I have read. I had to read this for a college level World Lit class and fell into the book really quickly. The characters are believable. They are flawed and broken and Yu Hua writes them in a way that I connected with very easily. Each character I related in a different way and I can see faults, shortcoming, as well as good characteristics of each character in myself.

The favorite part of this book was the look it took into being human and what it means to be huma
Renping Song
Jan 19, 2014 Renping Song rated it really liked it
Book Review (书评): To Live by Yu Hua (活着 余华著)

This is actually the first book I finished on my newly-bought Kindle. Since Chinese is my mother tongue, I chose to start with a Chinese version. Before I started the book and even before I finished it half-way through, I was expecting an inspiration type of story: the kind of story in which the major characters have ups and downs and then finally make it to the top. Yet To Live turns out to be nothing like that. It is a grieving story with tragic endi
Aug 27, 2007 Malex rated it liked it
This book felt a little forced. It was kind of like a Bugs Bunny cartoon where Wile E. Coyote gets squished by anvils, falls of cliffs, and gets cut in half by trains, but just keeps on coming. Except it's about horrible poverty in China instead of... whatever Bugs Bunny cartoons are about.

I did like Yu Hua's writing style though. I recommend Chronicle of a Blood Merchant instead of To Live. It's similarly tragic, but its social commentary was more interesting to me.
هل الحياة من اجل الحياة هى حياة ام الحياة من اجل يوم يمتلى بالحياة هى الحياة ؟!
Suatu waktu ada seorang pengelana yang berkelilin untuk mengumpulkan lagu-lagu rakyat. Dia kemudian bertemu dengan seornag bapak tua yang sedang mengerjakan sawahnya, ditemani oleh seekor sapi. Bapak itu bernama Fugui, dan dia menceritakan kisah hidupnya kepada si pengelana.

Fugui adalah anak seorang tuan tanah yang kaya. Hidupnya selalu nyaman, tidak pernah susah sejak dari kecil. Mungkin itulah yang membuat dia melihat bahwa hidup yang dijalani itu gampang. Ketika dewasa, dia menghabiskan wakt
Anastasia Cynthia
“Orang hidup itu yang penting senang, jadi miskin pun tak ada yang perlu ditakuti.”—To Live ‘Hidup’, hlm. 39

Ia paling kerasan minum teh pahit buatan petani. Duduk di ambang pintu, sementara sepasang matanya memerhatikan tubuh-tubuh renta itu terbungkuk-bungkuk menyusuri pematang. Hingga satu suara menarik perhatiannya. Laki-laki tua itu bernama Fugui, pun sapi di sampingnya. Dua Fugui yang papa, bekerja sama membajak petak ladang kecil mereka.

Fugui bercerita tentang kisah hidupnya di suatu senj
Sep 05, 2013 Sara rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 10, 2016 Banushka rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Çin'de yasaklanan bu roman oldukça sade bir dille yazılmış. hem şanslı hem şanssız bir hayat anlatılan. toprak ağalığından işçiliğe, toprak devriminden açlığa... devlet politikalarının Çin'deki sıradan bir insanı ne hâle soktuğunu gördükçe aslında dünyadaki tüm politikaların insan yaşamını değersizleştirmekten başka bir işe yaramadığını anlıyoruz.
yoksulluk ve açlıkla sınanıyor insanlık.
anlatılan açlığı yaşamayız umarım demekten başka bir şey gelmiyor insanın içinden :/
Jan 25, 2013 Patricia rated it really liked it
A grim, sad but compelling story. Since I finished it last week, it has been on my mind almost every day. I have been reflecting on the importance of relationships, of small kindnesses under unbearable circumstances, of overcoming obstacles. The author kills off characters right and left, with little fanfare. Some of the characters aren't developed as well as they could be --- a problem that may be the result of translation.

I have read several other books on this subject, but this is possibly t
Jun 29, 2016 Nandes rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"De joven disipado,
de adulto afortunado,
de viejo abandonado."

Aquest vers resumeix perfectament la vida d'en Fugui a la Xina rural de mitjans del s.XX, coincidint amb importants canvis polítics i socials al país.

Amb un estil directe i sense floritures, Yu Hua ens explica una història dura, trista i amarga, però alhora li dóna una dolçor i un toc d'humor subtil, fet que m'ha fet empatitzar encara més amb el protagonista.

Gran autor i gran llibre, recomanat pel meu amic Neardenthal i ressenyat en
Jan 15, 2015 Vanda rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: Čína
Fu-kuejův otec kdysi prohýřil polovinu rodinného majetku. Když pak jeho syn prošustruje ten zbytek, nemá se vlastně ani čemu divit. Tehdy ještě nikdo nemůže vědět, že za pár let přijde Osvobození a nešťastný soused, který lacino koupil jejich statek, dopadne jako každý čínský kulak. Tím však jako by se míra štěstí Fu-kuejovy rodiny vyčerpala, román zachycuje nekonečnou dřinu, hlad, nemoci a smrt. A přitom je to tak výborná kniha, v níž autor úsporným jazykem popisuje téměř celý jeden život. Neče ...more
Nabila Budayana
Jun 12, 2015 Nabila Budayana rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Papa dulu kuat lari. Sampai disuruh guru olahraga lari satu putaran lagi, padahal teman yang lain sudah selesai."
Saya menemukan seiris kenangan masa kecil papa di diri Youqing, bocah kecil anak Fugui, tokoh utama di novel To Live karya Yu Hua.

Akhir Mei 2015 lalu, saya sempat bercakap dan mengantar sang penerjemah buku ini di Surabaya. Meski di pertemuan kali itu kami mengobrol banyak hal, sayangnya saya lupa untuk membeli dan meminta karya terjemahan ini ditandatangani penerjemahnya. Sampai ket
María Greene
Aug 12, 2016 María Greene rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Súper bueno el libro. Muy gráfico también, en su concepto de que nadie sabe para quién trabaja, de que la vida sucederá y será imprevisible, sin importar los esfuerzos que hagamos. Se nota tanto que los libros chinos no tienen la religión occidental que explica o justifica todo lo amargo como una prueba o mandato de Dios... para ellos no hay errores en el diseño, y por eso quizá es que lo siguen con estoicismo.

Está bien escrito, también, aunque es muy duro. No solo por los accidentes y demases,
Apr 14, 2013 Jen rated it really liked it
I read this for class and really ended up... I wouldn't say enjoy, because I think it's difficult to enjoy this incredibly sad story, but I really appreciated it. Chinese history is an area I'm incredibly deficient in, and learning the history of China's cultural revolution and Mao's communist takeover in a textbook really just doesn't do it for me like a great book. I look forward to reading more by Yu Hua in the future.
Sibel Önal
Sep 25, 2016 Sibel Önal rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
09.09.2016 tarihli Akşam kitap ekinde Yu Hua'nın Yaşamak kitabını yazdım.
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صدر حديثا - كتب و...: على قيد الحياة - يو هوا 1 26 Mar 02, 2015 01:58PM  
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  • Love in a Fallen City
  • Fortress Besieged
  • Rickshaw Boy
  • A Dictionary of Maqiao
  • Strange Tales from a Chinese Studio
  • My Country And My People
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Yu Hua (simplified Chinese: 余华; traditional Chinese: 余華; pinyin: Yú Huá) is a Chinese author, born April 3, 1960 in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province. He practiced dentistry for five years and later turned to fiction writing in 1983 because he didn't like "looking into people’s mouths the whole day." Writing allowed him to be more creative and flexible.[citation needed] He grew up during the Cultural Re ...more
More about Yu Hua...

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“Your life is given to you by your parents. If you don't want to live, you have to ask them first.” 13 likes
“The emperor beckons me; he wants me to marry his daughter.
The road to the capital is long and distant; I don't want her.”
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