- Paperback: 352 pages
- Publisher: Anchor; Reprint edition (May 5, 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0307388379
- ISBN-13: 978-0307388377
- Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.7 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #475,832 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Corpse Walker: Real Life Stories: China From the Bottom Up Paperback – May 5, 2009
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From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. In this rich, often harrowing oral history, Chinese writer (and notorious target of censors) Liao travels to the margins of Chinese society, interviewing 27 outsiders from China's forgotten classes. The book contains an incredible cast of characters: a grave robber, a composer, a leper, a professional mourner paid to wail at funerals, a human trafficker and a delusional peasant who has anointed himself emperor. These conversations, largely recorded from memory, showcase Liao's empathy for his subjects and a particular talent for getting into tight situations; on one occasion, the author is forced to leap out of a three-story building when he fears the Communist government is targeting him for talking to a Falun Gong supporter. Liao's research took 11 years, and his final product is a stunning series of portraits of a generation and class of individuals ignored in history books and unacknowledged in the accounts of the new China. (Apr.)
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.
Poet and novelist Liao, imprisoned for four years by the Chinese government for his poem condemning the massacre at Tiananmen Square, offers intimate portraits of ordinary people in China. Using interviews with hundreds of villagers whose lives have not benefited from the astounding economic growth of the new China, he offers oral histories of their lives lived day to day. Among his interview subjects are professional mourners, a former Red Guard, a trafficker in women, a grave robber, and a former political prisoner. Liao talked to people in villages where traditions have changed little as well as those where the old ways have clashed with the Revolution. A man recounts how fear of leprosy and evil dragons prompted villagers to burn his wife alive. The shocked husband was then obligated to feed them at a festival afterward. A retired government official recounts the hardships during the Cultural Revolution, the passion of the villagers and the hypocrisy of leaders, and the need for an honest assessment and apology. Liao offers rich detail about people who live well outside the spotlight trained on China. --Vanessa Bush --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top customer reviews
- please don't skip the foreword and introduction - makes it much closer to the reality of it all. I am reading a lot of books on China and this one gives more depth to the general education I am receiving on the subject as I go. I don't think that I would have started with this one though and would have been able to continue reading without being prepared by other books. After a general concept through other books I can confront the reality of this one better. It is amazing to realize the resilience of Chinese people and of individuals who, I had no idea, could survive under such harsh conditions even though I had heard 1st hand all kind of 2nd World War European stories. I could not put this book away. IT IS HISTORY !
revealing and frightening way. For those of us who toured China post Mao days, it presents information that fills in pre-Olympic travel experiences.