Hubert's Reviews > One Man's Bible

One Man's Bible by Gao Xingjian
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May 19, 11

bookshelves: asian-interest, fiction, history, memoir, nobel-prize-book-club
Read from May 16 to 19, 2011

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 had a chance to begin with).At times his metaphors are right on: comparing a collective work place to a "beehive" and extending that metaphor throughout the novel. His treatment of women is annoying - at times dour, at times violent. The reader feels anaempathetic to the narrator, yet the reader keeps reading, almost morbidly.

Because the novel is fictional autobiography, you don't know if you're reading about the author, the narrator, if you're reading biography, what parts are extended or exaggerated, etc.

Nonetheless, highly recommended reading.
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