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PerpetualChange

One the fifth Chapter of 雪山飛狐 now. The hardest part is definitely not the language, but just keep track of all the characters. Even occasionally checking in with the English translation that I also purchased, it's no easier to keep track of what's going on. But it's fun reading. I'll provide a recap so far... (spoilers ahead):

 

  • Chapter one sees the main characters of the Dragon Lodge fighting with some other guys (and girls) over an iron box. Ultimately a monk comes along and beats all of them, demanding they follow him to his master's house.  
  • Chapter two shows the monk leading them to his master's house (I think I remember the master being the gold faced buddha, but not sure who they said he was), which sits on top of a mountain and is only accessible by lift. But the master's out looking for the Gold Faced Buddha, and has been assembling heroes to fight against the Flying Fox (or something like that), two ambassadors of the Fox show up (a pair of young twins) and embarrass everyone who tries to take them out. 
  • In chapter three, a few women related to the Gold Faced Buddha (I think his daughter, maybe his wife? I forget) show up and make the twins happy again by giving them a pair of jade horses. The twins leave upset when they learn who the women are related to, though, and leave hastily. It's then learned that the twins have sabotaged the lift. Those in the house lament that they won't be able to get back down before spring and only have provisions lasting a few more days. The characters decide to open the iron box and find a jade dagger. One of the woman recounts a long story she heard from her grandfather about how The Flying Fox (Surname Hu) and his three other comrades were part of some rebellion or other when Fox disappeared. The three others sought him out and eventually learned that Fox had not only killed the leader of the rebellion but was guarding the new leader. They fight and a lot of people either kill themselves or die, eventually you see where it's going, the beginning of a generational blood feud between the Fox (Hu) clan and the three other clans (Fan, Miao, Tian)
  • In chapter four the monk recounts how he learned about this, when he happened upon meeting between the descendants of Hu and Miao. They fought for five days and gained respect for one another. Hu consulted with his wife and thought he had found Miao's week point - but alas, when he went to exploit it, he quickly learned he was deceived. Admitting this, Hu and Miao took a last drink together, and then Hu killed himself. And then Hu's wife killed herself, and gave her son to Miao (I think this is supposed to be an attempt at ending the blood feud)

And so far, that's where I'm at. Good book. I had to blow up my Pleco deck and start anew after Chapter 4, because there were already 200 cards in it. I had 40 minutes to study yesterday, and thought "perfect, I'll have 10 minutes to do SRS and 30 minutes to read", I opened the deck and saw 90 cards due. 25 minutes later, my review was complete and I sighed. 

 

 

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jiaojiao87

I just started reading 《天才在左,疯子在右》. It's essentially a bunch of short stories about people with various conditions, or who put themselves in unusual situations. Two examples are a person who lives in a cave for two months without any clocks or ways of telling time, and how his sense of time became distorted, and a guy who due to brain damage from excessive alcohol consumption perpetually thinks he is 19 years old.  I can't speak to whether they are true or not, but the book puts forth that they are.

 

It's not bad.  Some of the cases are interesting, the language isn't particularly difficult, and the way it is divided into small, unrelated sections works well for me. I'd recommend it, overall.

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PerpetualChange

Still trudging through 雪山飛狐. 

 

I'm on the 7th chapter now, but I've found it's tough to keep up the stamina to read a lot of it. There are long stretches where I comprehend what I'm reading solidly which makes me feel lazy when tougher patches come up. I've now been reading this book for a month and I believe I'm almost finished, but I've thought about quitting it a few more times. The problem with reading it so slowly is that I've forgotten who many of the characters are, so when someone who was mentioned a chapter or 2 comes up for discussion (a week or 2 later for me, reading 30-60 minutes per day) it winds up being hard to follow. 

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imron

If you’re close to finishing it’s probably a good idea to keep going, but there’s also zero harm (and plenty of benefit) in putting it down and coming back to it later.

 

What you’re feeling now is why I recommend putting down books that are too difficult, and reading more suitable materials for a bit instead - and I also feel a bit responsible here for recommending something that you weren’t quite ready for. 

 

Even though it’s possible to keep slogging through it, it’s a negative experience that carries through to your study habits and motivation. 

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PerpetualChange
2 hours ago, imron said:

What you’re feeling now is why I recommend putting down books that are too difficult, and reading more suitable materials for a bit instead - and I also feel a bit responsible here for recommending something that you weren’t quite ready for. 

I'm not sure if it's the difficulty, or something else. I have an English translation which I've read roughly half of (reading the translation lags behind the original by a few chapters) and I've found it equally confusing in places. This is just because of how slow of a reader I am, and how I tend to forget the major details of the plot as I slowly move forward. But I suppose reading speed could be part of the problem, too.  It makes sense that I forget who the characters are in English as well as Chinese, since I only allow myself to read the English version once I have completed another chapter of the Chinese one. 

 

If you're interested, here's a passage that drove me nuts a few days ago: 

 

胡大爷所说这三件事,没一件不是关系极大。金面佛得知之后,何以仍来找他比武,非拼个你死我活不可,胡大爷直到临死,仍是不解。
只怕金面佛枉称大侠,是非曲直,却也辨不明白;又或因这三件事说来都是耸人听闻,太过不合情理,金面佛一件都不相信,亦未可知”。

 

My rough translation was as follows:

 

 

 
Quote

 

 

胡大爷所说这三件事 
Of the three things Uncle Hu said, there was not one that was not of great relevance.
 
金面佛得知之后,何以仍来找他比武,非拼个你死我活不可,胡大爷直到临死,仍是不解。
After the Gold Faced Buddha found out about it, how could he still want to fight him? He had no choice but to fight him to the death (非不可 is new to me and still confusing). Until Uncle Hu was near death, it would not be resolved. 
 
只怕金面佛枉称大侠,是非曲直,却也辨不明白

He feared that the Gold Faced Buddha was falsely named a great knight errant, right or wrong, he couldn't understand it clearly.

 

 

又或因这三件事说来都是耸人听闻,太过不合情理,金面佛一件都不相信,亦未可知

Or maybe these three things that were said were scandalous, too unreasonable, and the Gold Faced Buddha didn't believe any of them, who knows? 

 

 
I'm sure you can see that my translation doesn't really make any sense, and yet, I can keep going like this understanding the book in a sort of haze.

Anyway, It's not really about the word lookups, it's about the grammar, and familiar words being used in grammar patterns and expressions that I've never seen and don't know how to contextualize. Sometimes, I can not even identity why I'm not getting a sentence - I just don't get it. 

 

I showed the first sentence to a friend, basically told me I had the grammar totally backwards, and corrected my first sentence roughly as follows: 

 

Quote

 

金面佛得知之后,何以仍来找他比武,非拼个你死我活不可,胡大爷直到临死,仍是不解。
Why, after learning these things, the Gold Faced Buddha still came to fight him, leaving him no choice but a battle of life and death... this was something that until he was nearing death, Uncle Hu still never resolved. 

 

 

After reading this, it made perfect sense to me. But, I don't know how I would have ever arrived at it independently. I was too far confused to step back and see that the sentence could have meant something else, since I was expected the thought order to go in a different way. It's not really about vocab - I don't think I'd have been more prepared for this if I had read the October book of the month or 3 more Yu Hua novels first. It's just way different than stuff that I normally read. 

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PerpetualChange

On the final chapter of 雪山飛狐. Will post some thoughts upon finishing it, but for now, I can't say I'm a big fan of Jin Yong's style. It was an exciting read, but there were so many charcaters who just show up for a half a chapter or so, and so many plotlines that go nowhere. Seems like you've got to read like 3 chapters and get introduced to around 30 characters before the important one show up and you get to the crux of the drama... who knew I'd be yearning for Gu Long stretching the same plot beats across half a volume again... ha. 

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PerpetualChange

Finished. Exceptional in places, but suffered from way too many characters and way too many left field plot developments. I can't decide if it felt made up as it went along or surprisingly tight despite feeling a bit loosely wound. My own language ability is still a bit lacking so I'll be trying Jin Yong again when I have improved. 

 

Next up, mulling over a Wang Dulu novel, or else going real easy with some Yu Hua. I may also return to the book of the Month club (景橫街)and I've got a 4 volume Wolong Sheng novel on my shelf. 

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imron
14 hours ago, PerpetualChange said:

Finished

Congrats!  I’m glad you stuck with it. 
 

What did you think of the ending? It’s very ‘Lady or the Tiger’-ish.

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Lu
10 hours ago, imron said:

What did you think of the ending? It’s very ‘Lady or the Tiger’-ish

It's ages ago that I read it, and that was in translation, but I loved the ending. Loved how the whole book had been set up in a way that gave that ending such impact. It was my first 武侠 book and I had expected something much more straightforward: the good guys against the bad guys, some honour, some wushu, then the good guys win and main good guy gets the girl, the end. I had not expected an ending like that.

 

I just read 'The Lady or the Tiger' and yay, good story. Good and concise. I especially liked the sentence 'Among his courtiers was a young man of that fineness of blood and lowness of station common to the conventional heroes of romance who love royal maidens.'

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imron
7 hours ago, Lu said:

but I loved the ending. Loved how the whole book had been set up in a way that gave that ending such impact

My personal thought on what happened is

 



Even though it's presented as one of 2 things that can happen and it's impossible for it to be anything else, there have been enough other impossible situations in this and other Jin Yong books where someone was doomed only to have the impossible happen and they were saved, that I'm sure both of them can actually survive and go on to clear up the entire feud and become strong friends.

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PerpetualChange
19 hours ago, imron said:

What did you think of the ending? It’s very ‘Lady or the Tiger’-ish.

I liked pretty much everything to do with 胡 and 苗. I would say that there's no way he 劈'd in the end, ha. And I agree about the impossible situations, there were enough that were encountered in this short book and then resolved almost immediately. There is an entire series following this, right? But it might be a prequel? 

 

I think I'm going to buy a paperback and read it again in a year or two. As I said in my last post, I enjoyed it, but had a hard time keeping track of everything. When my reading speed has improved and my vocabulary has increased I could probably read it much more quickly later and maybe get a lot more out of it. 

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imron
1 hour ago, PerpetualChange said:

There is an entire series following this, right? But it might be a prequel?

There is a prequel series that goes in to whole back story, but it’s rubbish and retcons things almost as badly as Highlander II.

 

Definitely the worst of the Jin Yong stories I’ve read (I’ve read about half in total). 

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alantin

Still on the Lord of Chaos Chinese translation of the Wheel of time. I'm progressing about 5000 characters per day.

Also began today reading Negotiating China: Case Studies and Strategies by Carolyn Blackman.

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murrayjames

Recently finished 《羊舍的夜晚》, a collection of Chinese children’s stories from the 1960s by 汪曾祺. The stories highlight the daily lives of children and other colorful characters in a village of farmers and shepherds. A good read. Simple and charming.

 

Following a several month hiatus, I also read a few pages of 笛安’s 《景恒街》. Now at Chapter 13, and ready to see what happens to all these investors and adulterers in the 100+ pages remaining.

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PerpetualChange

I think I need a break from Wuxia. I've read a novel from Gu Long, Jin Yong, and Wang Dulu now, and can't say I'm really yearning to go deeper. Might check out another Yu Hua for my next book. 

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murrayjames

Finished reading 《景恒街》 by 笛安. Started reading 《雾》 by 巴金, the first book of his 爱情三部曲.

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