Nicky Harman's Reviews > The Last Quarter of the Moon

The Last Quarter of the Moon by Chi Zijian
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's review
Mar 24, 2014

it was amazing

I found this book started rather slowly and I put it down for a week or so. Then I took it up again, and I'm so glad I did. I'm not often moved to tears by a novel but I was by this one. It draws you in until you feel immersed in a different way of life, one which is wholly human, but completely foreign to (most of) us. Don't let anyone kid you that this is anthropology in fictional guise however. Last Quarter is a real novel and the personalities of each of the herders, their sorrows and their joys, shine through. What I found very moving was their stoicism. And that's not the same as fatalism. They suffer just like us.
One a slight different tack: The translator from Chinese, Bruce Humes, has done a great job. The story reads smoothly and beautifully, just as I imagine Chi Zijian must have written it. He has also tackled the Evenki (i.e. non-Chinese) names and terms successfully so that they just seem part of the story. (For more from Humes on how he did his research, click here: and skip to the discussion in the Comments section. This is a beautiful book which deserves to be better-known.
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Reading Progress

Started Reading
March 24, 2014 – Shelved
March 24, 2014 – Finished Reading

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