Saturday, July 27, 2013

The Garlic Ballads by Mo Yan

After Mo Yan won the Nobel prize, his books started getting displayed prominently in bookstores in Singapore & I almost picked up a copy. But then my friend S had one too & I borrowed it from her roughly 3 months ago. And I finally finished it last night. 

It's meant to be a hard-hitting, covered-in-reality-poverty-&-brutality sorta depiction of China in the 80s. Having said that how many pages can one read of poor peasants getting tortured by authorities or a young girl in love getting hammered by her family? There was a complete lack of humor or respite from the constant pitiful reality & I can't say the book made me feel much other than disgust beyond a point. I come from India & I get the psyche of honor killings. I also get the day to day callousness towards human life for those who live in abject poverty. I also understand the author's need to strip naked the ugly face of the Chinese political & social truth. But for me, it didn't make for a good read. The story needed some shreds of happiness or normalcy in the lives of its characters for the reader to feel something for them.  

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