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The Boat to Redemption by Su Tong
  

The Boat to Redemption

Literary Fiction   Family Drama   Reading Groups   eBook Favourites   eBook Favourites   

RRP £8.99

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A coming of age novel set in China. Dongliang once held high status as the grandson of an admired revolutionary but after his ancestry is questioned his life changes dramatically. This is a story about a father/son relationship but also a great insight in to the Chinese culture.

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Synopsis

The Boat to Redemption by Su Tong

Disgraced Secretary Ku has been banished from the Party - it has been officially proved he does not have a fish-shaped birthmark on his bottom and is therefore not the son of a revolutionary martyr, but the issue of a river pirate and a prostitute. Mocked by the citizens of Milltown, Secretary Ku leaves the shore for a new life among the boat people on a fleet of industrial barges. Refusing to renounce his high status, he maintains a distance - with Dongliang, his teenage son - from the gossipy lowlifes who surround him.

One day a feral little girl, Huixian, arrives looking for her mother, who has jumped to her death in the river. The boat people, and especially Dongliang, take her to their hearts. But Huixan sows conflict wherever she goes, and soon Dongliang is in the grip of an obsession for her.

He takes on Life, Fate and the Party in the only way he knows.


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Reviews

Su Tong writes beautiful, dangerous prose -- Meg Wolitzer What I admire most is Su Tong's style...His strokes are restrained but merciless. He is a true literary talent -- Anchee Min Powerful and elegant ...the world he so vividly depicts has the timelessness of a classical Chinese court painting Independent There is something soothing and insistent about the sound and feel of Su Tong's writing.Chinese customs and characters make the mood strange and different...Language, its feel and construction, flows like the river into the reader's imagination... [More] twists, turns and tragedies hold the reader's attention right to the end. The writing is superb, the word pictures of the river and its people memorable. And Yes, it could make great cinema Sunday Express The major achievement of this novel is Su Tong's decision to forgo his strength as a prose stylist and settle for a familiar story told in a familiar language. Despite the tendency of the younger generation to dismiss the cultural revolution as a bygone era, this recent past, with its cruelties and absurdities, still lives in the nation's memory. At his best, Su Tong is able to catch the tragedy and comedy of that time, using a highly political language: when the birthmark on Ku Wenxue's bottom disqualifies him as the martyr's son, the whole town goes through a craze of examining one another's bottoms in the toilets of municipal baths, while Dongliang, our private and sensitive narrator, reports, I tightened my belt and heightened my vigilance, - a line that playfully combines two slogans from Mao's era. Dialogues filled with political cliches of the time are the highlight of the novel. In an extremely poignant exchange - both tragic and absurd - towards the end of the novel, the narrator, in order to steal the martyr's memorial stone, has a long argument with the town's idiot, who has for decades considered himself to be the real son of the martyr. Guardian


About the Author

Born in 1963 in Suzhou and now living in Beijing with his family, Su Tong is one of China's most celebrated bestselling authors, shooting to international fame in 1993 when Zhang Yimou's film of his novella Raise the Red Lantern was nominated for an Oscar. Madwoman on the Bridge is his first collection of short stories ever to be published. It was followed by his latest novel, Check, a violent drama set in the aftermath of the Cultural Revolution.

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Book Info

Publication date

8th July 2010

Author

Su Tong

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    recommendations

Publisher

Black Swan, an imprint of Transworld Publishers Ltd

Format

Paperback
480 pages

Categories

Literary Fiction
Family Drama
Reading Groups
eBook Favourites
eBook Favourites

Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)

ISBN

9780552774543

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