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Cold Nights

3.58  ·  Rating details ·  72 Ratings  ·  9 Reviews
Nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2001, Pa Chin (b.1904) has long been one of the leading figures of twentieth-century Chinese literature. He is best known for the influential trilogy Family, Spring, and Autumn. Cold Nights, twice adapted into films (Cantonese in 1955 and Mandarin in 1984), grapples with the emotional entanglement of Chinese intellectuals with ...more
Paperback, 512 pages
Published January 21st 2003 by Chinese University Press (first published 1947)
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The tension between mother-in-law and daughter-in-law is a classic trope in Chinese culture, and Ba Jin’s 寒夜 (Han Ye / Freezing Nights) makes this a central theme. It does far more than this, however, and in doing so rises to its position as a modern Chinese classic.

In the novel, each of the three main characters, 宣 (Xuan), his mother, and his wife, 树生 (Shu Sen), rise above the usual stereotypes: the weak son, the domineering mother, and the rebellious wife. The mother, who is only ever known b
Rey Lee
Jun 21, 2014 rated it really liked it
This book is thoroughly depressing from the first page to the last. It's also extremely sentimental, with someone crying seemingly every other page and with increasing frequency as the story progresses. I recommend it for its depiction of daily life in unoccupied World War 2-era China and its indictment of ineffective or corrupt elites--unfortunately some things never change--which the author implies contributed to the subsequent civil war. Be warned that it won't make you a happier person.
Ellen Hamilton
Oct 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I think that this was the first novel that I read. I was 12 years old. Well, as far as I can remember, that's what it seems like, and I have a memory of the novels I've read after this one, but not of the ones I read before if there were any. I did not remember the name of this novel and actually found it by typing in Google "novel about Chinese man with TB". I knew it was Cold Something, but I couldn't remember what, and then I saw an image of the cover, and I knew I found what I was looking fo ...more
So freaky and sad.
侯 二六
Feb 11, 2008 rated it did not like it
A real downer. It's supposed to be--that's at the core of its importance as a historical artifact of the inter-war period in China (1945-1949). So it's important, but not very fun to read. Blessedly not truly melodramatic; there is some ambiguity to the characters and hence the story.
Jun 12, 2012 rated it really liked it
Sad and depressed; but realistic.
Daniel Burton-Rose
The influence of Russian literature is quite evident: dying of tuberculosis during wartime while your wife cheats on you!
Mar 09, 2014 rated it really liked it
life . human . love . losts . and war
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Ba Jin (巴金) took this pen name from Russian anarchists Bakunin and Kropotkin.

Known also as "Pa Chin"
More about Ba Jin

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