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Brothers: A Novel Kindle Edition

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Length: 656 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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See Me by Nicholas Sparks
"See Me" by Nicholas Sparks
Rich in emotion and fueled with suspense, See Me reminds us that love is sometimes forged in the crises that threaten to shatter us . . . and that those who see us for who we truly are may not always be the ones easiest to recognize. Learn more | See more from the author

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Baldy Li, the hero of Yu's epic third novel, comes into the world on the same day his father slips to a disgraceful demise while ogling women in a public toilet. The incident is big news in tiny Liu Town, China, and leaves the family tainted with shame. Yet even as Baldy Li and his mother, Li Lan, cower under the taunts of their neighbors, things begin to change for the better. The tall, handsome Song Fanping falls in love with Li Lan and marries her. Li Lan gains new happiness and Baldy Li gains an older stepbrother, Song Gang. Together, the two boys weather the changes of the Cultural Revolution, reform and globalization, and Yu's unflinching narrative, by turns tragic and hilarious, shows ordinary lives being broken down and built up again. Whether Baldy Li is peddling scraps or using Sun Tzu's war tactics to court the village beauty, Hua weaves the common thread of humanity through all his actions and desires. By the last page, the novel has imparted a whole world of histories and personalities that are difficult to forget. (Jan.)
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From The New Yorker

Yu Hua�s impressive fifth novel, a family history documenting four decades of profound social and cultural transformation in China, begins on a toilet. In a sleepy rural outpost known as Liu Town, fourteen-year-old Baldy Li is caught peeping at women�s bottoms in a latrine. He becomes known as a compulsive public masturbator, and his obsession continues into adulthood: he ends up hosting a beauty pageant for virgins (all of whom rely on doctored hymens to gain entrance). The book has sold more than a million copies in China, despite its irreverent take on everything from the Cultural Revolution to the capitalist boom. A characterization of Baldy�s notoriety can also be applied to this relentlessly entertaining epic: �Though his reputation reeked, it reeked like an expensive dish of stinky tofu�which is to say, it might stink to high heaven, but damn, it sure tasted good.�
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Product Details

  • File Size: 1851 KB
  • Print Length: 656 pages
  • Publisher: Anchor (January 27, 2009)
  • Publication Date: January 27, 2009
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B001NLL4Y6
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #356,982 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

43 of 49 people found the following review helpful By Steve Koss VINE VOICE on February 4, 2009
Format: Hardcover
BROTHERS is an absolute gem, a picaresque novel and Rabelaisian comedy of the absurd that combines Tom Sawyer and Horatio Alger with Moll Flanders and Fielding's Tom Jones, plus touches of Don Quixote and Anna Karenina. Alternately hilarious and filled with pathos, sometimes touching, other times graphically bawdy and even shockingly violent, peopled by the honest and the unscrupulous, depicting the saintliest of saints and the worst of sinners, Yu Hua's latest book presents a scathing, deeply cynical picture of modern mainland China from the time of the Cultural Revolution to the age of Viagra and plasma televisions.

As the title suggests, the story traces the life paths of two stepbrothers who form childhood bonds as close as any pair of full brothers. Devilish, sex-obsessed Li Guang, known throughout his small town of Liu as Baldy Li for his short haircuts, shows promise of being a world-class entrepreneur from an early age. In the book's opening pages, he is caught red-handed in the town latrine peeking at women's bottoms from beneath the wall separating men from women. Before being caught, he succeeds spectacularly by viewing the comely posterior of the town's young beauty, Lin Hong. He soon parlays this shameful feat into 56 bowls of house special noodles, one from each Liu town male eager to hear his detailed description of the heavenly sight. As he eventually learns, Baldy Li has unintentionally followed in his natural father's path, one that led to his father's ignominious and gruesome end in that same latrine while trying to achieve the same objective.

Song Gang, Baldy Li's more restrained and better educated stepbrother, is the handsome, shy, and sensitive son of Song Fanping.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Kevin M. Kuschel on February 27, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I have read all of Yu Hua's works and find them quite engrossing. This work is slightly different then To Live or the Chronicles of a Blood Merchant as it has much more dark humor. As in previous works a historical span seems to be crossed and a family is followed through the upheaval of Chinese history Brothers carries on with absurdities in the charactors that are funny and yet sad, incredible but yet somehow believable.I have always liked Yu Hua's work. I think this one given its length and expanse compares more to some of the recent works by Mo Yan. Between the two of them the complexities and simple joys of contempory Chinese history are illuminated. I highly recommend this book.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Reader from Singapore on April 2, 2010
Format: Paperback
Acclaimed Chinese novelist Yu Hua's "Brothers" is social history masquerading as contemporary literature..and I mean that in the best possible way. It traces the lives of two non-blood brothers, Song Gang and Baldy Li, from the time when as children their parents came together during the Cultural Revolution years to the time their lives took sharply divergent paths under post Deng's socialist in name but capitalist in spirit China. "Brothers" is modern satire filled with sharply observed commentary on the state of the nation, focusing on sudden change rippling across Chinese society and the social and cultural confusion it causes as ordinary folks struggle to keep their heads above water and learn very quickly that they either adapt or die.

Though not obviously packaged as such, "Brothers" in fact comprises two parts, a shorter first part set in the 60s about the horrific suffering endured by the parents of our two protagonists amidst the social upheaval of the Cultural Revolution years, and the more interesting second part set in the rapidly liberalizing China which see the two brothers being torn apart by their love for the one and only town beauty, Lin Hong. Agreed, it doesn't sound very promising, hinting at yet another Chinese melodrama in the making....but rest assured...the author is much too savvy and astute for that. He doesn't make Song Gang the good guy nor Baldy Li the bad guy....cos that would undercut the message he's putting across. In true Chinese tradition, they're brothers forever to the end but their response to change is what tells them apart.

The gentlemanly Song Gang, like his poor father before him who suffered and died tragically believing in Mao's singular truth, is lost in the new China.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By David on March 7, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
BROTHERS is a modern masterpiece that will be fully appreciated by few Western readers. Written for Chinese eyes and readers, it draws on staples of Chinese comedy (exaggeration, puns, silliness, earthiness), novels (Dream of the Red Chamber) and folklore (Monkey King).

The patient reader will harvest from the 600 pages an image of a town and nation in near-chaos but held together by tradition, a population seeking to break from custom and station in life, and individuals facing a destiny center on the alignment of stars.

The New York Times review of BROTHERS amplify the frustration a western reader will find in trying to penetrate the text. Yes, the translation doesn't quite do it justice.

However, a diligent reader will say, after finishing the novel, "Wow, that was a powerful story." I recommend the book for all those who want to understand China.
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