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Wolf Totem: A Novel Paperback – March 31, 2009
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
-Alan Cheuse, San Francisco Chronicle
"[Jiang Rong] is on the way to becoming one of the most celebrated and controversial Chinese novelists in the world."
-The Guardian (London)
"Electrifying. . . . The power of Jiang's prose (and of Howard Goldblatt's excellent translation) is evident. . . . This semi-autographical novel is a literary triumph."
-National Geographic Traveler (Book of the Month)
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Top Customer Reviews
Although drawn almost autobiographically from Jiang Rong's personal experiences, WOLF TOTEM is essentially an allegorical novel. Its hero is the author's alter-ego, the young and impressionable "sent down" college student Chen Zhen. Chen and other students are assigned to live with sheepherders and learn their ways. Along the way, he learns about animal husbandry and the customs of a Chinese minority group, hunts wolves, steals a wolf cub from its mother's den in order to raise it, and watches the sudden, unstoppable intrusion of Beijing's destructive bureaucracy into Mongolia's life and lands (as embodied to the point of caricature by the stunningly indifferent Bao Shungui).Read more ›
How is it exciting?-- the stories of wolves and their interactions with humans, particularly the minorities in the northern part of China. The people in that area believed (and probably is the truth, i'm not sure about that part) their very ancestor was abandoned in the wild and was miraculously saved by a mother wolf who fed the human infant with her [...]. Therefore, they respect wolf as the life saver of all of them. They also view wolves as messengers from their God. After someone dies, they leave the body in the wild where wolves constantly come by. They want the wolves to eat the body and carry the dead person's soul to their God. They not only respect wolf, but almost treat it as a superior deity. They worship wolf.
However, they couldn't resist the reality that wolves are not friendly to human. And here's where the conflicts kick in. They have to respect wolf due to their religious view, and at the same time they have to fight wolves to protect themselves and their farm animals. The conflict between emotion and reality makes this book more than interesting.
The inspiration: this book is more than the breathtaking battles between human and wolf. The author analyzes deeply into Chinese history, civilization, and culture using the characteristics of wolf. At the end of the book, the author concludes that the reason China has been a weak player in the world stage in the past few centuries is because long years of peaceful farming culture has turned the country into a gentle sheep, whose people don't even have the courage to stand up to protect themselves when being attacked. It offers a very unique and insiprational view of Chinese civilization.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This was interesting both historically and thematically. However it was very repetitive, probably poorly edited, and certainly not a work of literature.Published 2 months ago by levitt
Rather boring...what's worse is that it centers mainly on capturing a wolf cub, and chaining it to a post for several years. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Ed Quigley
Actually I found this to be a very sad story. I believe that we should always strive to cherish that which works!!!Published 3 months ago by dee Jackson
Very good read. Exactly what I expected. A little story telling a little history.Published 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
I enjoyed this book. I learned about it while traveling in China earlier this year. There, this book quickly achieved best seller status in the country given the natural detail... Read morePublished 4 months ago by Mike D