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Mr. Muo's Travelling Couch

2.73 of 5 stars 2.73  ·  rating details  ·  1,072 ratings  ·  171 reviews
Following his runaway best seller, Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress, Dai Sijie gives us a delightful new tale of East meets West: an adventure both wry and uplifting about a love of dreams and the dream of love, and the power of reading to sustain and inspire the spirit.

After years of studying Freud in Paris, Mr. Muo returns home to introduce the blessings of psych
Audio CD, 0 pages
Published June 7th 2005 by Random House Audio (first published 2003)
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The second book by the author of the acclaimed Balzac and the Tiny Chinese Seamstress. Balzac was one of my top books from 2003. The Chicago Tribune book cover quote stated that “Fans of Dai Sijie’s Balzac will adore this enchanting adventure story.” The Tribune writer of this quote should be burned on top of a pile of this book, because in my view, fans of Balzac will be the exact ones who will find this book excruciating to complete. The book’s main character (Mr. Muo) is a Chinese scholar ret ...more
Jul 10, 2008 treehugger rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: NO ONE!
HOLY CRAP THIS BOOK SUCKED! I couldn't even MAKE myself finish it. Full of ridiculous psycho-babble, with a main character (or perhaps an author??) who is FAR too impressed with his own intellectual feats to make a coherent story. Didn't even make it halfway with this one. Dumped like a rotten date back into the library dropbox.
This book is a surrealistic trip through China told by a most improbable protagonist. Muo, a Chinese psychoanalyst trained in France, takes a bizzare trip across China looking for a virgin to sate the jaded appetite of a sadistic judge, a former executioner of Chinese prisoners who took an unseemly pleasure in his job, and who now holds the keys to the freedom of his childhood love.

If this novel were a painting, it would be a twisted dreamscape by Dali and if it were a play, it would the stepc
Quirky, darkly funny, bizzare yet believable characters running like lab rats through the maze of a totalitarian and often contraditory and confusing state of both the country and mind in China. West meets east with the incorrigable Mr. Muo and his psychoanalytical belief system that has him analyzing,questioning, finally experiencing his own freudian belief system and obssession with the libido. Mr. Muo is the ultimate example of man's complex make up of psycological paradoxes. While trying to ...more
Audiobook...............What a romp! Travel along with Mr. Muo, China's only registered psychoanalyst as he seeks a virgin in China to offer as a bribe to a crooked judge, in order to free his friends, "The Embalmer" and "Volcano of the Old Moon" from wrongful imprisonment. Along the way, you will roar with laughter at the dry wit of the author as he offers such tidbits as popular children's songs from the Revolutionary Re-Education period which laud the joy of Communism. Also, enjoy the dream a ...more

* Originally published in France as Le complexe de Di by Gallimard, Paris, in 2003.

I’ve truly grown to love Asian writers. This writer happens to be Chinese-born but lives and works in France. Either way, the culture and wit of Asia and its artists have overwhelmed and enthralled me. Mr. Muo’s Travelling Couch included.

Dai Sigie’s second novel Mr. Muo’s Travelling Couch follows the experiences of the title character as he goes back to China after studying psychoanalysis in France. He idolizes Fr
Stephanie Shimada
I picked this up since I had enjoyed Dai Sijie's previous book Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress but this was nowhere near as good. There were a few unexpected entertaining twists that kept me from giving up but it felt like a short story that had been drawn out unnecessarily long... leaving the ending up to your imagination. I did enjoy being transported along with Mr. Muo from life in France back to life in China and the initial culture shock that went with it... and to see how the worl ...more
Booring, booring...the title should have been The Authors travelling mind. I don't know what he was smoking when he wrote this dilapidated piece of dodo. And, this from the man who wrote Balzac and the little Chinese seamstress, a book I really liked.
Yeuch! Mr Muo the creepy little pervert slithering along the train to try and fondle a girl's ankles gave me the horrors! I'd have smacked him in the personables if he came near me. It started bad and got worse with embalming women and washing machines that eat clothes while creepy boy hunts down a virgin to sell. Shudder!
This book is impressively bad. I can't think of anything positive to say about it. The plot, character development, writing style...everything is tepid at best (and usually worse). Stick with Dai Sijie's first book (Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress) if you want to read this author.
How shall I describe this book? Take Freud, a Chinese immigrant to France who has returned to China, a journey in search of a damsel in distress (actually in prison), and constant flashes (interruptions?!?) of dreams, day-dreams, fantasies and perhaps a few hallucinations – many sexual in nature – and put them all in a blender, but don’t blend them together too much, and you have an idea of the story. Hum… the language of the text is superbe, but Mr. Muo, the main character, provoked me many tim ...more
I have a bit of a conundrum with this book. I love the author’s style of writing...there’s something lyrical about the structure of his sentences that just engulf the reader. Balzac and the Little Chinese seamstress hypnotized me with some of its passages. That being said, Mr. Muo’s Traveling Couch is written with the same artful style, and yet somehow never struck the same chord with me. I like quirky books, so the whole approach of the main character being a Chinese scholar who traveled to Fra ...more
Dai Sijie now produces a rapturous and uproarious collision of East and West, a novel about the dream of love and the love of dreams. Fresh from 11 years in Paris studying Freud, bookish Mr. Muo returns to China to spread the gospel of psychoanalysis. His secret purpose is to free his college sweetheart from prison. To do so he has to get on the good side of the bloodthirsty Judge Di, and to accomplish that he must provide the judge with a virgin maiden.

This may prove difficult in a
Bookmarks Magazine

This comic novel encompasses huge themes__not just political repression in China, but also love, sex, the commodification of women, and the twisting, winding roads one must take to gain self-knowledge. Reviewers concur that Sijie's second novel is something of a picaresque; it meanders as it follows the hapless Mr. Mou's adventures and missteps and enters into the terrain of the absurd. What reviewers don't agree on is whether or not the novel succeeds as a whole, particularly compared to the el

I have to agree with many of the other reviews of this book. Dai Sijie does a great job of taking the reader to modern day China and immersing us in the realities of everyday life, but the book jumps around a lot and does drag on a bit. None of the characters are very endearing. The plot is slow going and not particularly entertaining, but does have its quirky moments which can keep you going if you stick with it. The whole ambiance of the book is pretty grungy and dark, but Sijie does do a good ...more
Elizabeth B.
Dai Sijie is channelling Vladimir Nabokov in this book. It is as if he writes about Mr. Muo with a copy of Pnin next to him, mining for inspiration. Of course, Nabokov is such a Jupiter of literature that being in his orbit cannot be unpleasant! This is a very readable and entertaining story about a Chinese interpreter of dreams who seeks a "nymphet" to deliver to a man with power to release his true love from prison.
Mar 30, 2007 Nicole marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
I am about to starting reading this b-natch on tape. This could change the way I roll. Anyhow, it's by the same author who wrote the book Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress. Although I didn't read the book and only know the story from the lovely movie, I am into it. I'll let you know how things shape up.
Louise Brenner
Dec 08, 2008 Louise Brenner rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Louise by: book club member
Shelves: novels
I could not connect with the character or the story. It was just a bit too offbeat for me -- and I usually enjoy offbeat. I ended up not finishing it; most of my fellow book club members did the same.
I would have stopped reading this if I didn't have to finish it for a book club. Mr. Muo is annoying and a jerk. And his exploits are ridiculous for no purpose.
Phong Ho
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Eilnor's Lipman's review says why I love this book better than I can - though she doesn't mention the wonderful chapter on the spiritual, carnal and culinary properties of sea urchins which had me laughing till I hurt.

"Four years ago, Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress, its cover adorned irresistibly with red scuffed Mary-Jane shoes, introduced the novelist Dai Sijie to American readers. Like his two main characters, he had been "re-educated" in China's Cultural Revolution, exiled to a rem
Lisa Nocita
This is a book that I had to make myself give a chance. It starts out a bit rambling, leaving the reader confused. But once you get to the heart of the story it begins to make more sense. Mr. Muo has returned to his homeland to come to the rescue of his unrequited love, a jailed former university student imprisoned for her political views and photographs shared with western journalists. Muo, a freudian devotee and psychoanalyst, learns that he may be able to secure her freedom thorough bribery, ...more
I was extremely happy to be done with this book! Oh how I couldn't stand listening to this! But I couldn't stop either because once I start I have to see it through to the end.

Muo has spent the past several years in France studying psychoanalysis. He is returning to China in order to get his love, Volcano of the Old Moon, out of prison. Why he had to spend so much time studying psychoanalysis in order to do this? I don't think I quite figured that out. Muo is prepared with a large sum of money
Marthe Bijman
Mr. Muo, an ugly little Chinese man, returns to his home-town in modern China to get his imaginary girlfriend out of jail and travel the country while doing psychoanalysis of people’s dreams. His hero is Sigmund Freud and armed with his handbooks, his little blue suitcase and his bicycle, Mr Muo proceeds to interpret dreams and get into trouble.

Dai Sijie wrote the moving, simple and delicate "Balzac and the little Chinese Seamstress", a debut novel which has gained cult status since its publicat
"Absurd" is probably the best word to describe the adventures of Mr. Muo.
At times, it was really funny, almost ironical wisdom captured in cute, fascinating descriptions. But only at times. For the most part it was actually rather dull and pointless, mostly I struggled to stay invested much longer. After the brilliant "Balzac and the little Chinese seamstress" this was a let down.
There were good points in presenting a modern day China every day life but those got lost somewhere in the "absurd" e
Doron Yam
I think it's a book about the need to get what your heart desires. The hero is a virgin Psichiatrist who wants to release his beloved women from jail. On his way he needs to tranlate dreams of women and men to find what the evil judge seeks. The rel meaning of the story is to show us that faith has its own misterious ways and that nothing stands in front of ones will.
The book is full with psychological terms and analisys based on Froid's theories. It suits the plot well as the hero is complicat
I'd give this book a 3.5 rating. I enjoyed it for its humor and some of the just-plain-ludicrous situations the narrator gets himself into. However, I was disappointed by the book's conclusion. I'm ok with the fact that the narrator hasn't learned anything about himself or his world as the book ends. (Plenty of books have narrators like that.) But if the reader hasn't gained any larger understanding either, then the book seems like a waste of time. Arguably, it could be said that the reader has ...more
I loved Sijie's first book and was jazzed to finally be reading this second one. How far the apple has fallen by the tree. This novel was dry to read in some places. I enjoyed his tales about interpreting dreams by setting up his banner in different geographic locations. However, I did not enjoy the storyline that was demeaning to girls. Although I read it through in hopes of an ending that ties into something enriching, I would not recommend this to other folks. There are much better books and ...more
This book is a highly imaginative account of a Chinese French psychoanalyst who returns to China to save the love he left behind, a political prisoner whose only chance out is if the psychoanalyst can find a virgin to satisfy the cravings of a lecherous judge who has the power to release her. Although many of the book's critics try to make him out as a hero, I think Mr. Muo is a disgraceful character who has been completely brainwashed by Western culture and I cannot find an ounce of sympathy fo ...more
A comic novel with an endearing set of unusual characters. Mr Muo is a Chinese man who has been living and working in Paris where he has trained as a Freudian psychoanalyst. He returns to China to free his sweetheart, charmingly named 'Volcano of the Old Moon', who has been imprisoned by an evil judge ...the price for her freedom is that Mr Muo must bring him a virgin to deflower. Mr Muo travels across Southern China in search of a virgin, along the way interpreting dreams to earn money.

Dai Siji
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Dai Sijie was born in China in 1954. He grew up working in his fathers tailor shop. He himself became a skilled tailor. The Maoist government sent him to a reeducation camp in rural Sichuan from 1971 to 1974, during the Cultural Revolution. After his return, he was able to complete high school and university, where he studied art history.

In 1984, he left China for France on a scholarship. There, h
More about Dai Sijie...
Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress Once on a Moonless Night Tres vidas chinas L'Acrobatie aérienne de Confucius China

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