Red Sorghum

Red Sorghum

Spanning three generations, this novel of family and myth is told through a series of flashbacks that depict events of staggering horror set against a landscape of gemlike beauty, as the Chinese battle both Japanese invaders and each other in the turbulent 1930s. A legend in China, where it won major literary awards and inspired an Oscar-nominated film, Red Sorghum is a book in which fable and history collide to produce fiction that is entirely new and unforgettable.

Reviews of the Red Sorghum

The family member who had his skin ripped off comes back several times, and, dare I say, his fate hits you more. Elaborate family funerals, rotten bodies, love stories, people's heads exploding, red sorghum wine. An impressive book, and one which gives a discerning look at the past, as ignoble and beautiful as it can be.

De pronto se percató de que eran espíritus vivientes: sus raíces se hundían en la tierra oscura, se nutrían de la energía del sol y de la esencia de la luna; humedecidas por la lluvia y el rocío, eran capaces de comprender los caminos del cielo y la lógica de la tierra. Mo Yan crea personajes inolvidables: el comandante Yu Zhanao, Dai Fenglian (Pequeña Nueve), Pasión, Nueve Sueños Cao, Arhat Liu..., conformando una aventura visual, gráfica, que empapa todos los sentidos, en un territorio mítico donde el omnipresente sorgo es protagonista de excepción.

With this book I respectfully invoke the heroic, aggrieved souls wandering in the boundless bright-red sorghum fields of my hometown. If the land could speak it would spin tales of worship and treachery; if it could cry it would wail for the corpses cuddled in its core and one day, the red sorghum would desists from transforming into a fiery liquid, shying away, fearing the stark resemblance of the scarlet wine to the gory mayhem on its very land. The knife in the lonesome butcher Sun Fives hand trembled as he begged Uncle Arhats forgiveness for cleaning his blood soaked body with cold water ; skinning the man alive like a cattle suspended on a hook. Killing and getting killed became a way of life to the citizens of Gaomi Township. Families slaughtered, men skinned alive, women raped, employed as sex slaves; it was a hemorrhaging mockery of the very land that took pride in its humanity. As she traveled though the black soil of the sorghum field, the Northeastern Gaomi Township waited for its mistress. A quintessentially docile daughter like many other Chinese girls;Dai endured the agonizing foot-binding ritual a cultural norm during feudalism, primed herself for a marriageable suitor and lived a sheltered life. Dai saw the sorghum grow in her fields frolicking in the sun, standing tall in the rain and yielding the fiery scarlet wine after its harvest. Were the chaste crimson sorghum stalks Gaomis heroes? He obeyed Dai like a diligent soldier in the 1939 Black River Massacare to avenge the death of many of his people. Mo Yans metaphorical saga nostalgically maps heroic virtues through the landscape of his hometown of Northeastern Gaomi Township; a paradoxical ground that once flourished in prosperity of human grit and kindness was now a cauldron of heinous crimes howling at the ill-fated blackened cinders. Then a few huts appeared and it became a haven for escaped murderers, drunks, gamblers, who built home, cultivated the land and turned it into a paradise for humans driving away the foxes and wild rabbits, who set howls of protest on the eve of their departure. Mo Yans symbolism of life and death surpasses the familiar grounds of human hostilities delineating the sarcasm of the rising red sun flying high on the Japanese flag whilst it eclipses bleeding the Chinese frontiers. The laudable tale chronicled by Dai Fenglians third generation embarks on the end of the Japanese invasion during WWII following an anti-Japanese ambush by Commander Yu. It spans from the 1929- the first year of Republic wandering all the way through the Cultural Revolution; witnessing inhumane crimes of rape, slaughter and numerous horrendous war crimes. Mo Yan underplays the political aspects of the Japanese-Sino war putting human life on a valuable didactic dais. Dai- who dared to love a bastard and stand up for her rights, Yu Zhanao- who never let his pitiful surrounding hamper his audacity, Passion- who braved the horrendous sex crime, Douguan for being an honorable at a young age, Douguans wife- who got her first period while hiding in a cave embracing her death brother, Uncle Arhat- for being loyal to his kin and enduring the agonizing torture, Sun Five for sacrificing his human existence for sullied lunacy and numerous other citizens of Gaomi Townships and above all the very earth where the deep-rooted sorghum still bow to blazing sun; all of them are heroes. Approximating the demeanor of the bold sorghum stalks, they stood tall and when autumn befell they sacrificed their world saluting the heroic spirit of Gaomi Township. "....The yang of White Horse Mountain and the yin of the Black Water River, there is also a stalk of pure-red sorghum which you much sacrificewield it high as you re-enter a world of dense brambles and wild predators. It is your talisman, as well as you familys glorious totem and a symbol of the heroic spirit of Northeast Gaomi Township!" Yans characters are not judged by their individual demeanor but by their cohesive valor.

Ben daha önce Mo Yan kitaplarn okuduum için olaylar takip etmekte bir sorun yaamadm. Kzl Dar Tarlalar da yukarda yazdm ksa özetin daha çok Çin-Japon sava ve komünistler-Kuomitang arasndaki savalara odaklanyor. Ne kadar derinlikli olduklar tartlr, Yaam ve Ölüm Yorgunu ve ri Memeler ve Geni Kalçalar bu yönden Kzl Dar Tarlalar'ndan daha iyi romanlar diyebiliriz. Ama masals atmosferde okumas keyifli ve kolay hikâyelerle savan ve yoksulluum psikolojisini çok iyi anlatyor Mo Yan, o sebeple anlatlanlar hsan Oktay Anar'n kitaplarndaki gibi kartondan adamlarn kavga etmesinden öte anlamlar tayor.

But for someone like Mo Yan, who was born and raised in Shandong Province (completely taken over by Japan), it might constitute family memory and cultural history. An individual of a later 20th century Chinese lifespan, this mans experience of that earlier time is found through flashbacks of family memory that play out in bits of seemingly disjointed montages. But as the book progresses these bits assemble in the readers mind into a more complete picture. Mo Yan sees to it that we are complicit with them and experience with them this horror. As Second Grandma observes: "You revere heroes and loathe bastards, but who among us is not the 'most heroic and most bastardly'?

Lestremo confine del genere umano e della bellezza Il sorgo è rosso come il sangue. La prosperità e il benessere sono obiettivi anche necessari che il genere umano persegue nella sua lotta per il progresso, ma generano profonde e temibili contraddizioni. Tuttavia, non ho esitazioni nella valutazione; un romanzo potente, epico, che entra nellanima.

So healthy that I read his Nobel Prize acceptance speech (which was beautifully crafted - and long), I watched interviews of him with subtitles, I'm going to get the movie "Red Sorghum" and watch it, just because it's after this book right here, not because I particulary enjoy Chinese movies, I've started taking more interest in China's development (the whole of it, not just the last 150 years) because their ancestry fascinates me, and above all that, I think I'm ready to read his entire work. If you're like me, and this isn't your first Mo Yan book, it seems almost weirdly familiar to once again drown in it. His narration is extremelly fluid and doesn't ever stop on the way or decide to become less entertaining - it is a constant voice that you keep listening to throughout his book and it guides you through the maze that is "Red Sorghum". It's the area's God. It almost seems like this book's Universe is formed of only it, and it's present wherever things happen: good things, tragedies, deaths, marriages, history - the sorghum is there to supervise the people. Rarely do you see such a natural element take an important role in the story, but then comes Mo Yan, who makes almost a character out of this fodder plant and gives it the all-knowing, all-seeing, a little menacing role. Black earth, red sorghum, milky water, it all adds up to a story background that sometimes surpasses the story itself and makes it even more rich when it doesn't, as it gives soul to not only the people, but the places it talks about. (view spoiler) That skinning is a bloody, messy job and one of the moments I realized Mo Yan really knows what he's talking about.

Among the works highlighted by the Nobel judges were Red Sorghum (1987) and Big Breasts & Wide Hips (2004), as well as The Garlic Ballads.

  • English

  • Cultural

  • Rating: 3.73
  • Pages: 359
  • Publish Date: April 1st 1994 by Penguin Books
  • Isbn10: 0140168540
  • Isbn13: 9780140168549