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The Blue Mountains of China Paperback – International Edition, December 9, 2008

4 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Rudy Wiebe is widely published internationally and the winner of numerous awards, including two Governor General's Literary Awards for his novels The Temptations of Big Bear and A Discovery of Strangers. His most recent book, Of This Earth: A Mennonite Boyhood in the Boreal Forest, won the Charles Taylor Prize for Literary Non-fiction in 2007. He lives in Edmonton.

Afterword by Eva-Marie Kröller Dr. Eve-Marie Kröller is a professor of English at the University of British Columbia. In 1995, she won the Distinguished Editor Award for her work as editor of Canadian Literature.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: New Canadian Library (December 9, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 077109471X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0771094712
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.6 x 7.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,591,172 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
The Blue Mountains of China is an historical novel that tells the story of a set of Mennonite immigrations from the Ukraine SSR to Siberia, Canada, Paraguay, and briefly, China. The novel begins with a series of loosely connected chapters which move forward in time, and focus on individual and interior responses to the privations endured by Mennonites, who either are being forced from their land or are seeking that next elusive place on earth where Mennonites can be Mennonites. It is ultimately a convergent novel, with characters separately developed in early chapters being linked together as a saga of several families interrelated by beliefs, culture, and circumstance. I chose to read it because my paternal line comes from the same Mennonite background, and in fact, emigrated to the US from the same Mennonite colony, Molotschna, in the Ukraine SSR from whence this story originates. I found this novel to be quite moving, and wonderful in depicting the lives and thoughts and beliefs of my ancestors. The writer is respectful of the Mennonite community and of the devotion to God that many in that community try to include in their daily lives. At the same time, the characters are very human and flawed, and the writer is candid in his depiction of some of the real problems and issues that the Mennonites struggled with, including the often exaggerated insularity, and the piety that could be overstressed to the point of missing Christ's message regarding treatment of our fellow men, among others. He doesn't miss the complexity of martyrdom or deep sacrifice that several of his characters show, bringing out the quiet personal courage of someone acting on their convictions while also showing the apparent futility of some of these actions.Read more ›
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.. seems to have nothing to do with the text. But the author is Rudy Wiebe, not Eva Marie Kröller!!!

You have to know Mennonite history to understand the book at all, especially since RW seems to have been bound and determined to become the James Joyce of Mennonite authors. Most of the book is written as introspection, so I can't help you with the meanings of the many sentence fragments, but I can at least do what RW should have done, namely, provide a little dictionary' of a few Mennonite (Plat-) dialect terms. Here are some naive guesses:

groutestov/Grossestua-living room
sommastov-summer (or back-) room
Chortitza (where they had originally settled in the Ukraine)
actstov-(from Mecklenberger-Vorp0momern Platt) a back room that can only be entered through another room, akt meaning "aft".

The 'Russian' Mennonites originated in Switzerland in Reformation times, as did all Mennonites of that age, then and picked up their language (Platdeutsch) in north Germany. From Prussia they were invited to 'Russia' by Katerina der Grosse. They're pacifist, refuse any but their own (German Bible-) schools, and prefer no citizenship. Ca. 1875 Canada looked more friendly so there was a mass migration but 'Russia' was not emptied of Mennonites (the book begins with the time after the communist revolution in the Ukraine). After WWI their German schools were outlawed in Canada (they go 6 yrs. to learn Hochdeutsch in order to read Luther's Bible) so they migrated to the State of Chihuahua in N. Mexico (and farther into Central and South America) where, in 1991, they still formed a colony some 50000 strong N, of Cuahtemoc (they make Mexico's cheese, e.g.). At that time they had no citizenship, by choice, and did not have to serve in the Mexican army.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
A very moving and powerful novel that tells the story of the Mennonites who fled the Soviet Union to escape religious persecution. Although not as highly acclaimed as some of his other works, The Blue Mountains of China is perhaps one of the great Canadian novels.
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