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Shifu, You'll Do Anything for a Laugh

3.6  ·  Rating details ·  826 Ratings  ·  99 Reviews
In these stories, we see the breathtaking range of Mo Yan's vision--which critics have compared to those of Tolstoy and Kafka. The stories range from the tragic to the comic, though Mo Yan's humor is always tinged with a shade of black. They embody, too, the author's deep and abiding love of his fellow man, equaled only by his intense disdain of bureaucracy and repression- ...more
Paperback, 216 pages
Published July 16th 2003 by Arcade Publishing (first published 2001)
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Sep 03, 2015 rated it liked it
Reading this was a good exercise in expanding my personal, hopefully not too xenophobic, horizons. This collection of short stories had an interesting preface by the author, a mini autobiography describing his passion and inspiration for writing. He describes his early childhood during the cultural revolution and how he developed a resilience to adversity. He also describes the fact that he has no formal training, let alone Western influences on his writing. This is important, because you really ...more
Oct 13, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
دست از این مسخره بازی ها بردار اوستا مجموعه ای از داستان های عجیب است که همان طور که در مورد سبک نویسنده گفته میشود ادم را به یاد نوشته های "مارکز" میندازد.
توصیف های کتاب به ویژه داستان " ادم و دد" را خیلی دوست داشتم...

" نور سرخ عظیم چشم بابا بزرگ را پر کرد. موج های ابی خاکستری کاهلانه ساحل شنی را لیس زدند و گوی "قرمز چون خون"ی راه خودش را از اعماق اب به بالا به اتش کشید. بابابزرگ به یاد نداشت و اصلا راهی هم برای یاداوریش نداشت که چندبار بیرون پریدن خورشید خیس اب چکان از توی اقیانوس را دیده است.
Pooya Kiani
Nov 16, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories
داستان بچهآهنی به تنهایی توجیهکنندهی مطالعهی این کتابه.
مو یان نه نویسندهی داستان کوتاه که قصهگوی کوچهست. البته قصههای کوچهش رو به شکل داستان کوتاه یادداشت کرده.
نیمهی اول خطابهی نوبل شاهکار بود.
آدم و دد هم داستان خواندنیای بود.
ترجمه تقریبا استاندارد بود.

پیشنهاد میکنم توضیحات بیبیسی و رادیوزمانه دربارهی انتخاب مو یان به عنوان برندهی نوبل رو هم بررسی کنید تا برداشتهای دوگانهی عموم از این داستان نویس شکل بگیره توی ذهنتون.
Nazmi Yaakub
Lapan cerpen yang memberi peluang untuk kita menikmati kepengarangan Mo Yan meskipun beliau memang dikenali dalam genre novel. Latar sosio-politik dan sosio-budaya terutama zaman awal Mao, revolusi budaya, kebuluran dan moden dengan percikan realisme magis serta erotik tipis di beberapa cerpen - boleh menjadi pembuka selera untuk terus menikmati novel Penerima Hadiah Nobel Kesusasteraan 2011 ini.
Jul 11, 2008 rated it really liked it
The blurb from Kenzaburo Oe on the front of the book says, quite simply, "If I were to choose a Nobel Laureate it would be Mo Yan." I think the esteemed Oe would have a good case to make. This short story collection is very revealing about Mo Yan and his purpose in writing. In his introduction, Mo discusses his direction to become a writer after a life of poverty, where a shipment of coal becomes a feast for the villagers. Several of these stories may seem incomplete at first glance, but Mo's in ...more
pseudonymous chinese novelist mo yan is perhaps best known for his novels red sorghum and the republic of wine. the 2012 nobel laureate in literature, mo yan already has a half dozen novels translated into english, as well as two short story collections. shifu, you'll do anything for a laugh features eight short stories (spanning most of mo yan's career) selected for inclusion by translator howard goldblatt with the author's approval.

mo yan's introduction (recounting the forces that led to his i
Jan 07, 2008 rated it it was ok
Here's a case of falling in love with the author/intro, but struggling with the book. The book is a series of colorful tales played out during extreme circumstances. Loved the first tale--but not as much--those that followed. Perhaps the brutality? I would love to read Mo Yan's autobiography--he's a terifficly appealing soul. A much loved writer in China--the stories reflect his experiences with poverty and the peoples struggle.
David Schwan
Oct 11, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An interesting collection of short stories from the noble prize winning author. I've previously read one of the authors novels. I think this collection shows the breadth of the authors skills. The descriptions of life in the stories gives the reader a vivid picture of life in rural China.
Jun 07, 2018 added it
Shelves: nobel-prize, e-book
Give up finishing Alice Minro short stories then reading the Mo Yan short stories book. feel like... Oh, i did the right thing

just read the intro... the misery that I've felt is nothing. at least I always have food. a good food.

Don't for a minute think there was no pleasure in our lives back then. We had fun doing lots of things. Topping the list of fun things to do was gleefully eating something we'd never considered food before.

hunger made me realize how very important food is to people. Glo
S. E.
Jan 07, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lite, nobel
This book left me with mixed emotions. This is one of the books I set out to read as a "light" read, and in the end it turned out to have demanded a considerable amount of mental energy. Now, I have read enough to avoid the condescending idea that a piece of literature will provide an introduction to this or that culture, if anything just the opposite. Therefore, whenever I get to read literature, I seek for common, universal references, with an original voice. Perhaps it is personal, because of ...more
Feb 11, 2013 rated it really liked it

I'm not sure I totally "got" (the 2012 Nobel Prize winner for Literature) Mo Yan's other-worldly symbolism at play in a few of the 8 short stories in the collection Shifu, You"ll Do Anything For A Laugh, but for the most part, all of the stories consistently grabbed my attention in various ways.

One story, "The Cure", creeped me "smooth out" (as they say here in The South), providing one of most gruesome displays I've ever encountered in fiction...even surpassing the freakishness of Chuck Palahn
A pretty strong collection that is as distinct as his novels. Here you have the vicious reality of poverty, war, death intermingled with magical realism (a flying woman; railroads that become dragons; children made of metal; spirit lovers) in a way that makes the 'fantasy' necessary. Like Garcia Marquez the prose is violently beautiful, pungent with life - the sorghum crops are like limbs, the sun a hot fiery ball of blood, everything in the countryside becomes vivid and bursting with comedic ri ...more
Jan 31, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2013
A marvelous selection - eight cherrypicked from a list of 80 possibles, according to the wildly inspirational preface "Hunger and Loneliness: My Muses" - that makes for an excellent introduction to The Chinese Chekhov.

The title story starts out as a story about unemployment, morphs into a story about a bang bus and ends as a ghost story.

Other stories veer into the cartoonish and surreal (i.e. hallucinogenic) territory that earned Mo the ol' Swedish Nod: children eat railroad scrap ("Iron Child
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Mo Yan starts the collection with some introductory boasting about his vitality as a human and prowess as a writer of stories people want to read (versus, presumably, stuffy literary material).

* "... why I became the sort of writer I am and not another Hemingway or Faulkner..."
* "...So I guess I can say I come from superior stock"
* "I possess a fertile imagination... I do know how to spin a bewitching tale..."
* "Critics ... don't think much of me. But let's see them write a story that captures a
Jul 25, 2007 rated it it was amazing
This was the first Mo Yan book I read. I hadn't known till I read this book that he had written Red Sorghum. I haven't read Red Sorghum but I had seen the movie based on the book a long long time ago and remember being impressed by it.

Mo Yan has an inimitable style. This is a book of short stories and most are steeped in symbolism which the master artfully employs to depict conditions, states and feelings of his characters. I am usually not a big one for symbolism but this had me gripped and gri
Mar 22, 2014 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars
David Valenciano
Apr 21, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mi preferido: "Niño de Hierro"
Ye Thu
Aug 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
စကရုံကြီးကိုပိတလိုကတော အဘိုးအို ရှီဖူး တစယောကအလုပလကမဲဖြစသွားတောတာတယ။ သေတစပနတစသကဆုံး လုပမယလို နေခဲတဲ စကရုံကြီးမှာ ရှီဖိုး ကြာခဲပါပြီ။ လုပသကရငဝနထမးဆိုပေမယလညး စကရုံကလညးတာဝနမယူ၊ အစိုးရပိုငးကလညး တာဝနမယူတဲအခါ ရှီဖူးတစယောကငတတောမှာလား။ ငယရွယတဲသူတွေမှာ ခွနအားကို အရငးအနှီးအဖြစအသုံးချပေမယ ရှီဖူးရဲခွနအားတွေတော စကရုံကြီးကညှစထုတလိုကပြီလေ။ လေးငါးကြိမ အပြနပြနအလှနလှနညှစလိုကလို ဖွာလနသွားတဲကြံဖတဟာ အဘိုးအိုရှီဖူးပဲပေါ။ စကရုံထဲကနေ လူလောကထဲထွကလာတဲ ရှီဖူးတစယောက လူတွေဘယလိုရုနးကနနေကြတယ၊ ဘယလိုရှာဖွေစားသောက နေရလဲ ဆိုတာမြင ...more
Feb 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Mo Yan, "No hables", el escritor, el cual le debe a sus musas soledad y hambre como dice el mismo autor en la introducción de este hermosos libro y como decidió convertirse en escritor. Creo que en esta colección de ocho cuento no hay ninguno malo. Me sorprende la genialidad de este autor, pues es un crítico de China, pero realza la figura del campesino, del hombre y la mujer de este país. Como ya lo he dicho en otros comentarios siempre me preguntado cuando un escritor es realmente original y n ...more
Thanh Nguyen-Kim
Apr 30, 2018 rated it liked it
Glad that I finally finished one of his novels... As Red Sorghum, his best work did not catch me in its first few pages... A fe pages of Red Sorghum gave me an impression of dark, cruel writting with blood ink pen, which I don't enjoy reading.
This is different, a collection of short stories that evoke laugh. It is not very funny, it's ironic. The kind of laugh in awkward, unbelievable situations. Situational laugh. You can't believe people lived like that, could do so, etc.
His stories are all s
Xian Xian
Nov 07, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shifu, You'll Do Anything For a Laugh: This is the first story of the book, it's more of a novella or a novelette, since it's 53 pages. Most of the short stories in this book include the theme of poverty in China. Shifu is an old factory worker who is laid off from his job, and he is unable to find a job due to his age and heath. Shifu is kind and hard-working and the last time he gets paid off is by getting fired. He is also childless and his wife depends on him to bring money home. He is also ...more
Mar 31, 2018 rated it liked it
I didn't hate these stories, but none of them really inspired me, I wanted to enjoy them, but they just left me cold. There was a story called "The Cure", which was a retelling of "Medicine", by Lu Xun, having read both, the original works on higher level, it's much more engaging. Definitely check out Lu Xun's short stories if you haven't. Maybe I'll pick up one of his novels, but this initial read was not very promising.
Apr 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
What a dark, heart-wrenching, saddening piece of work this is! Packed with symbolism, it is highly evocative and represents the real life as it it was. If you like reading during the meal, don't do it with this book. All praise goes to the translator who transformed the original into such a seemingly short but entirely absorbing and challenging read.
Feb 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
A quick read - I read it all in one flight from Hawaii home. Very creative, interesting variety of short stories set in China during the last half of the 20th century under Mao. Kind of amazed he can publish in China.
Jin Z
Nov 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
I can’t read Mo Yan’s fiction in Chinese. His language belongs to an older generation that some may consider not very refined. But reading the English translation is quite a different experience. Without a doubt, Moyan is a genius storyteller who has a unrelenting sense of humor.
Anthony Faber
Mar 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
A collection of stories about rural pesants in post-revolutionary China. The warts and all portrayal definitely goes against the Communist view of pesants as noble oppresed workers. I hope, for his sake, the regime doesn't make another about face.
Venom Wolf
Jul 23, 2017 rated it liked it
I really liked the vivid descriptions, some of the stories fell a bit flat for me though.
Jul 09, 2017 rated it liked it
Funny and definitely a great introduction to Mo Yan.
Sep 09, 2016 rated it liked it
I enjoyed reading the first short story, which has the same name as the book, but the other stories stirred mixed emotions in me. The first story was funny and unapologetic. It was magical realism, with a bit of supernatural, and it was well-written. I liked the ending, and I was looking forward to reading the rest of the collection.

But, the second story, called Man and Beast, was way too brutal for me. I was horrified and disgusted. I almost stopped reading the book.

The only reasons why I cont
Lara Messersmith-Glavin
The cover for this one was irresistible: "If I could nominate someone for the Nobel Prize for Literature, it would be Mo Yan."

Of course, this was said by someone I'd never heard of, (probably his agent), but it has been worth the 110 yuan I paid for it, if for no other reason than the fact that the portraits he paints of Chinese daily life are so similar to the ones I think I expect to find everywhere I look, and have yet to experience firsthand. I've been in China for 7 months and still have ne
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Modern Chinese author, in the western world most known for his novel Red Sorghum (which was turned into a movie by the same title). Often described as the Chinese Franz Kafka or Joseph Heller.

Mo Yan (莫言) is a pen name and means don't speak. His real name is Guan Moye (simplified Chinese: 管谟业; traditional Chinese: 管謨業; pinyin: Guǎn Móyè).

He has been awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature 2012 for hi
More about Mo Yan

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“A writer writes what he knows, in ways that are natural to him.” 28 likes
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