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Shifu, You'll Do Anything for a Laugh

3.59  ·  Rating details ·  890 ratings  ·  108 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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3.59  · 
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 ·  890 ratings  ·  108 reviews

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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.
Feb 05, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Zināmā mērā šī grāmata atgādina kādu no bērnībā sērijā "Brīnumzemes pasakas" lasītajām - neredzēta, nelasīta eksotika, kas nu jau pieaugušam cilvēkam kaut kādā mērā šķiet arī pazīstama un saprotama. Reālistiskie dzīves tēlojumi robežojas ar mistiscisma piejaukumu, lietas, kas varētu būt jebkur, savijas ar tieši Ķīnai raksturīgo.
Plašāk par grāmatu blogā:
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.
زهرا غفاری
تلخ و هولناک؛ روایت هایی صادقانه از زندگی آدم هایی که از زندگی کردن زیادی دور افتاده ان و سهمشون تنها رنج و محنته. تلخ تر اونجاست که می فهمی تمام داستان های مو یان ریشه در واقعیت دارن و از خاطرات کودکی و روستایی که خودش توش زندگی می کرده الهام گرفته.

البته این وسط یه نکته هم جالبه. عنوان اصلی مجموعه، در واقع عنوان یکی از داستان های نیمه بلند مو یانه که مترجم و نشر چشمه برای فرار از سانسور و یا شاید بهتره بگیم بی حوصلگی برای پافشاری، از چاپش صرف نظر کردن و فقط یه خلاصه چند خطی اش از زبون مترجم توی
Apr 02, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ļoti nevaru ar sevi vienoties par šīs grāmatas vērtējumu, jo vispār man ne visai patika, tomēr, ņemot vērā milzīgās kultūras atšķirības, savā ziņā man tomēr patika. Pēdējo stāstu izlasīju ar aizrautību, jo ļoti vajadzēja zināt, kā beigsies.
Divi stāsti bija tāds maģiskais reālisms, ka es vispār nesapratu, par ko mēs runājam, tikai tāda noskaņa, Kultūras revolūcijas Ķīnas sajūta...
Ir skaidrs, ka ķīniešiem kolhozos klājās daudz smagāk, nekā baltiešiem, bet es tagad nesaprotu, kādēļ - izglītības trū
Jan 07, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, 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
Jun 07, 2018 rated it liked 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
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
Aug 19, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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"
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
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
Luego de leer La vida y la muerte me están desgastando, El suplicio del aroma de sándalo y Boom, no necesito leer mas libros para decir que Mo Yan es de los mejores escritores que he leído en mi vida, por lo que sabia que estos 8 cuentos me iban a maravillar, como así ha sido.
Solo por el prologo, escrito por el propio autor, en el que resume una parte de su juventud en la maltratada China de la Revolución Cultural, ese fantástico experimento social que lo único que dejo fue miles de muertos en
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
Niloofar zarif
Apr 01, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
کتاب زیبا و تکان دهنده ای بود. همون طور که نویسنده در مقدمه کتاب گفته دانش فنی درباره نویسندگی نداره اما رنج فراوانی که در کودکی کشیده و تجربیاتی که داشته بهش کمک کرده بتونه تصویرهای فوق العاده جذابی خلق کنه. شاید بشه گفت رویاهای کودکی سرکوب شده رو میشه در کنار رنج فراوان پا به پای هم توی این داستان ها دید و این واقعا جالبه. در عین حال نباید منتظر یک معنای عمیق فلسفی پشت این داستان ها بود، داستان ها سطحی و تا حدی عامیانه هستن.
باید توجه داشت که بیشتر داستان های موجود در این مجموعه از آثار قدیمی ن
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.
Aug 06, 2015 rated it liked it
I enjoyed this book and it was an interesting view into chinese cultural paradigm. The stories did not always hold my attention but the writing was excellent and for the stories that did hold my attemtion i suspect i'll be thinking of the message of the story and visualized moments - for a long time. Good literary experience.
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.
Jul 21, 2013 rated it liked it
Neither I love the book, nor I dislike it. It'd never grabbed me. Some of the stories are wonderful though. But
(1) Nobel Price in literature does not, at least IMHO, guarantee that one might like the book. And (2) I am tired of parables, even good ones. And it seems that anything coming from China, for some reason, is a parable.
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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
“A writer writes what he knows, in ways that are natural to him.” 28 likes
“The act of giving voice to this spiritual suffering is, in my view, the sacred duty of the writer.” 10 likes
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