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randall_flagg

Book of the Month, April 2009, 巴金's 家

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somethingfunny

I'm reading this at the moment and have a question.  I've skimmed through the thread and don't think it has been mentioned (I didn't look too closely as I was worried about spoilers).  In chapter 8 when they're talking about the trouble between the students and soldiers they talk about something called 检查仇货 and I'm not sure what they mean.  My dictionary doesn't give me anything for 仇货 but I'm guessing it's some kind of boycott, possibly of Japanese goods?  As for the 检查 part, I'm not sure at all what that is getting at.  Are the students going round making sure everyone is maintaining the boycott?

 

Here is the full sentence for context:

 

据说这两年来学生太爱闹事了,今天检查仇货,明天游行示威,气焰太盛,非严加管束不可。

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mandel1luke

仇货 according to Baidu = 敌对国家的商品和货物. An educated guess would be the students are checking which merchants have been selling Japanese goods.

 

 

I think I must read the next two parts of the trilogy...

 

BTW there's a drama adaptation by Cao Yu 曹禺 of 家, for lovers of this novel.

 

http://wx.cclawnet.com/caoyuquanji/index01.html (09)

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somethingfunny

Thanks for the reply!  And for confirming my suspicions.  I'm still making my way (slowly) through this novel and am about a third through.  While the characters are quite richly portrayed, I have to admit I'm getting a little tired of the very in depth descriptions of things like the drinking games, or setting off fireworks, or two characters going for a walk.  But I guess this is the point Ba Jin is trying to make isn't it?  How lavish and carefree these people's lives are, the level of depth with which they can apply themselves to ultimately meaningless pursuits.  Either that, or I'm still not very good at reading and have missed the point completely.

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mandel1luke

Somethingfunny, I have the opposite impression. The drinking games or setting off of fireworks are not trivial - it goes to show the characters caring for little blessings in their lives. It affects you more when the family breaks apart.

 

I have the same impression when I read Hong Lou Meng.

 

I'm surprised to find there isn't a complete translation of Jia into English. The Sidney Shapiro translation is abridged. What's more, no one has attempted to translate Chun and Qiu into English. Googling around it seems that  quite a number of Western critics think the novel is melodramatic (which it is to a certain degree, notwithstanding its importance - but still...).

Edited by mandel1luke

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Lu

I don't think walks and drinking games are all that lavish, my impression when reading the book was that they were simply what people did in their free time or over the holidays (unless you want to argue that hobbies, holidays or hanging out with friends and family are meaningless pursuits, which is both true and untrue). There are a few school and work scenes, but as with most stories, the more interesting stuff tends to happen in the characters' time off. Also because a large part of this story is about the women and girls of the family, who were not even supposed to leave the house.

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gato

It's probably tiring because you are still developing your reading speed. Once you get closer to native reading speed, the descriptive writing goes by much more quickly and wouldn't drag as much. You might also then be able to pick up more of the emotional nuances through these passages. 家 indeed a bit more melodramatic and much simple in character development than some other authors of that period like 张爱玲 or 鲁迅.

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imron

Just wait to you get to 春, there's even more melodrama, and long wistful glances.   秋 was my favourite of the 3.

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