Samantha Marshall's Reviews > Soul Mountain

Soul Mountain by Gao Xingjian
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's review
Jul 18, 2009

really liked it

Gao's book is about the competing needs for solitude and company within the self and how indulging one, harms the other. Gao was a writer in Communist China who lost most of his counter-revolutionary works during the cultural revolution when he felt forced to burn them all or suffer the consequences. He was then diagnosed and upon returning to his doctor undiagnosed with cancer. Feeling he had a reprieve, he leaves Beijing to join to wander near the Lu river for a few months by himself and hopefully avoid the Communist government until the cultural revolution cools down. Soul Mountain is his fictionalized account of these months told from the perspective of I, You, He and She. He and She seem to change throughout the book, but overall could be different manifestations of Gao himself. As a traveler and a sometime solitude seeker, I appreciate Gao. I also appreciate why this book may have been given to me by my father, who knows me so well. This is not the quickest of reads but well worth it.

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