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BotM Proposal for December: Wang Xiaobo's 黄金时代


roddy
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So, who is reading?

I've just finished it and overall, I enjoyed it.

One thing that baffled me was the gratuitous sex. I don't know if all of it was necessary to get the point across. At times it read like a novel for horny youths. Sure, a certain amount was necessary as a stylistic device, but I think people got the point after a while.

What I do like was the funny tone in which it was told (especially in the first part). I also like how it seems to switch angles throughout. It started a bit as a comedy, then it was a bit of a tragedy, and then it was quite nostalgic.

I'm attaching a word list I put together while reading. I didn't get everything.

wangxiaobo.txt

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  • 2 weeks later...

I bought the book yesterday. I'm catching a plane on the 27th, so I'm saving it for that. I've actually been meaning to read this for a while.

Renzhe, I've just seen your post about episode 12 of Fendou. I'd pretty much given up on it after 11, but given your description of what happens I think I'll at least watch 12.

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It's awfully quiet in here....

We're hoping to liven things up in the New Year with our new projects: Chinese Beer of the Month, and Chinese Delicious Food Delivered to Your Door by Chinese Film Star of Your Choice of the Week.

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Renzhe, I've just seen your post about episode 12 of Fendou. I'd pretty much given up on it after 11, but given your description of what happens I think I'll at least watch 12.
Fendou gets stronger (but in some ways more ridiculous) as it goes along. Lu Tao grows up a little by the end.
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Chinese Delicious Food Delivered to Your Door by Chinese Film Star of Your Choice of the Week.

I don't know, this sounds to me like it might be one of those scams for which China is justly famous. Sure, at first glance it sounds good, but on taking a closer look at the "fine print" it seems like I only get to choose the film star. I don't get to choose the food!

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Chinese Delicious Food Delivered to Your Door by Chinese Film Star of Your Choice of the Week.
Ooh, just thinking up all the possible combinations might be enough to get me though the winter. Can we start a thread on this?

I'm sorry for being so quiet, I did get the book, and if Zhang Jie is progressing well I might read Wang Xiaobo over the Christmas holidays.

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Actually I don't think it's that bad - Shadowdh, Lu, ABCinChina, Renzhe, C_redman, rob07 have all read or said they'll try to read it. Given that tackling a full Chinese novel (albeit a short one in this case) can be a pretty significant undertaking for a non-native reader, that's not too bad.

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Here's another daring non-native speaker who's trying to read 黄金时代. I'm a second-year student of Chinese and had expected the book would be a lot more difficult for me than it turned out to be. Sadly, I have five exams next week, so I've been too busy to spend more than an hour or two on the first couple of pages, but I will definitely be trying to finish it over Christmas. I'm not sure if I'll manage, but I'm certainly giving a shot and greatly enjoying the idea of actually being able to read something authentic for the first time.

I must say that I probably wouldn't have been able to read the first few pages without Renzhe's word lists, as there are quite a few words I've never seen before, but not having to look them all up in a dictionary makes this read a lot more enjoyable. So thanks, Renzhe! :)

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Hey there! I just read 黄金时代 over the weekend and I enjoyed it. Thanks for suggesting this, Roddy, and I'm looking forward to the next book of the month. What a great project! (Btw, I did try 奋斗 but just couldn't stand watching it...)

I enjoyed the mixture black humor, youthful frivolity, melancholic elements and a very human approach to life. Great book. I don't think the sex-part was overdone, it fit in well with the general theme/tone of the novel.

Thanks also for posting the link to the interview with the author on youtube. That helped put the story into a greater context.

What kind of fruit is this ? 早上我带给他很多酸琶果,都是好的. I tried looking it up but couldn't find anything. Is it a typo, perhaps? 芭果?

Although apparently illegal, it seems to have been surprisingly easy for 王二 to purchase a shotgun during the Cultural Revolution!

And, this may be my personal word of the month 解放鞋 was a new word for me! Never heard that one before!

EDIT: 拜脚狂 is another one I'll try and remember.

Edited by randall_flagg
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I really enjoyed it in the beginning, then it had me kind of puzzled, and I didn't know how I felt about it by the time I was finished.

But, after thinking about it for a while, I decided that I really did like it. For me, the key to understanding the story is figuring out that 陈清扬 (and not 王二) was the main character of the novel. Then I saw the story in a completely different light.

I'm glad that the vocab is helpful to someone.

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But, after thinking about it for a while, I decided that I really did like it. For me, the key to understanding the story is figuring out that 陈清扬 (and not 王二) was the main character of the novel. Then I saw the story in a completely different light.

That is a good point. Chen does seem a more fully drawn character than Wang Er.

The sex is a central part of the story, I think. It works in the story both as a means of escape from the outside world and an expression of rebellion. And for Wang Xiaobo, I think, is his way of thumbing his nose at the puritanical Maoist culture that existed after the Cultural Revolution.

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So list of declared participants now includes Shadowdh, Lu, ABCinChina, Renzhe, C_redman, rob07, Daan, Randall_Flagg, and peterlkj. Almost double figures! Maybe anyone who completes a BoTM should get a little gold star on their profile . . .

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So list of declared participants now includes Shadowdh, Lu, ABCinChina, Renzhe, C_redman, rob07, Daan, Randall_Flagg, and peterlkj. Almost double figures!

And we have 15 more days to go! Wow!

Just browsed through previous BOTM posts and I thought to myself "chinese-forums is like Oprah! If a book is recommended here, EVERYBODY reads it!" hahaha!

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The sex is a central part of the story, I think. It works in the story both as a means of escape from the outside world and an expression of rebellion.

The sex is a central part of the story, yeah, it just seemed that not all of it furthered the story. But that was just a first impression.

And for Wang Xiaobo, I think, is his way of thumbing his nose at the puritanical Maoist culture that existed after the Cultural Revolution.

I think that this had a lot to do with it. And that's fine, a bit of shock is always good. :D

I read it as a story of 陈清扬 discovering her sexuality and getting rid of guilt. Her character develops very far in this respect, whereas most other characters are static. When she accepts the role of "damaged goods" and embraces it, she is liberated in a way.

I guess you could see the whole story as emancipation of an individual from a strict and hypocritical society, but that might be reaching too far.

I'm very willing to discuss this in more detail, BTW :mrgreen:

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Right just as I got started with this book on my pda I was organising my study (read the wife told me I had to sort my sh!t out as her sister and family are coming for christmas) and I found that I have this book... woo hoo to say the least... I am struggling a bit with time to read but Renzhe's word lists are a god send... many thanks for those...

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