Customer Reviews for

Bridge of Birds: A Novel of an Ancient China That Never Was

Average Rating 4.5
( 14 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 14 Customer Reviews
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  • Posted December 31, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Under appreciated classic

    Simply one of the best books I've ever read. The writing is lyrical, beautiful, funny and tragic by turn. The action is fast paced and the characters are well, if simply drawn. It is a great escapist book that draws you in and carries you to another world. Comparisons to "The Princess Bride" are apt. It is a story of adventure and true love. I was torn between turning the pages as fast as I could and trying to savor every moment. It is tragic that this book hasn't found a wider audience. If you are not smiling after reading the first few pages, then chances are the book isn't for you. Otherwise, you'll be hooked for sure.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 19, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Fresh and funny -- a real joy to read

    I've read this book numerous times. My only problem is that I loan it to others who forget to return it!

    Bridge of Birds follows Number Ten Ox, an overgrown teenager from a subsistence village in China, and Li Kao, the brainiac fossil Ox hires to find out how a plague can count (all the village children in a certain age range get the same strange illness). Li Kao takes Ox through an amazing set of adventures as they search for the "Great Root of Power". Ox races around China carrying Li Kao on his back as they find riches, only to lose them, all the time searching for their goal. They must deal with the monstress Ancestress and the diabolical Duke of Chi'in, taking time along the way to fall madly in love with the greediest woman on earth. Unforgetable characters pop up in the most unexpected places until Li Kao realizes that they must be getting godly help -- and will have to save a goddess if they are to cure the children.

    The subtitle is "A Story of China that never was" -- but on the back cover, a reviewer comments that it "should have been". I fully agree. This is one of the most delightful reads I have found!

    The author also wrote "Eight Skilled Gentlemen" and "The Story of the Stone" with Li Kao and Number Ten Ox reappearing. I also recommend them, although they are sometimes hard to come by (especially the Story of the Stone -- I could only get it from a used book seller). I like Bridge of Birds best, but the others are also worth your time.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 17, 2004

    Humorous and Entertaining

    Reviewed by Randy Farnsworth, author of ¿A Stand Yet Taken¿. This was a very fun book to read. It¿s not a literary masterpiece with deep meanings that your English Literature professor will ask you to dissect; it¿s just an enjoyable romp around ancient China with a cast of eccentric characters. Hughart has a way of mixing fact, history and folklore with his own fiction that produces a very credible tale. He really has a grasp on Chinese culture and traditions. I truly respect a writer that is willing to do so much research prior to penning a manuscript. I think this is very much written for a Western audience. Having a limited background in Sinology myself, I wonder how a Chinese reader would accept this ¿ especially if it is translated into Chinese, which would cause the reader to loose much of the English plays on words. As for his writing style, there is a great deal of subtle humor along with overt comedic scenes. I found myself laughing out loud at the balloon flatulence scene, as sophomoric as it was. However, some of the writing is so fast-paced that I had to re-read several sections to figure out what had happened. The story is a bit crude in parts, so I wouldn¿t recommend it for younger children. The characters seem to have a great fixation with sex. That adds to their eccentricity, but I don¿t feel it really adds to the story much. But the conclusion of the book is written in a very heartwarming and sensitive way ¿ one of those where you put the book down after the last page, take a deep breath, and thank the author for taking you on a pleasurable journey.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 6, 2000

    A great gift book!

    I too have given this book away a half dozen times. It is simply the most endearing fable I have ever read. Of all the readers of this book I have met, none have read it only once - it is one of those rare stories that offer such enjoyment that re-reading it is like pulling on a favorite sweater. Enjoy!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 23, 2000

    A classic Taoist Fantasy!

    This book is phenomenal. Not only did it refuse to be put down, throughout the time I read it I was enthralled by the seeped-in cultural depth and genius arrangement by Barry Hughart. The characters are lovable, the story vivid, and there are a few moments where, while reading it, I thought I would burst out in laughter and tears simultaneously. It flows perfectly and has a masterfully created plot, which is only added to by the great narrative of Number Ten Ox. The Chinese culture is intricate and often times so beautifully real I felt I was examining a painting instead of reading a novel. The antics of the characters are great, and I never wanted to finish this book, but when I did, I found it a perfect story wrapped up in some of the greatest writing I've found. Definitely his best work.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 12, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Quest fantasy (abandoned)

    This book was chosen by the husband of one of our book club members He loved it. We did not (despite all the positive reviews). Half of the group could not finish the book and the other half had to struggle to finish it. We all felt we had to constantly re-read to grasp understanding and each time we came back to it after putting it down we couldn't remember what happened. I also felt like it was too much jumbled all together. I kept trying to piece some sort of meaning to it but just couldn't do it.

    I think this might appeal to people who read fantasy on a regular basis. I do not.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 8, 2002

    Humorous Chinese Sherlock Holmes

    It was my good fortune to stumble onto this book in the '80's and since then, I have often given it to special friends. No one has been less than delighted and fascinated by Master Li and Number 10 Ox. Although billed as sci-fi/fantasy, many detective fans find this compelling story to be among the best they have encountered.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 1, 2000

    A CLASSIC

    This is the finest and most enjoyable novel I have ever read. And re-read, and re-read, ad infinitum. It just doesn't get any better than this; humor, action, mystery, pathos and an ending that would make steelworkers shed a tear while they stood and cheered. Enjoy.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 8, 2000

    There are two other stories in this series.

    I love this book, and as Dr. Arnoldi suggested (November 23, 1999 review), the other two stories in this series (The Story of the Stone and Eight Skilled Gentlemen) are now available along with Bridge of Birds in one volume as THE CHRONICLES OF MASTER LI AND NUMBER TEN OX. This volume is available from a book club affiliate of BARNES AND NOBLE at the bottom of the main B&N Science Fiction and Fantasy page: at the bottom of the page, you will find the subheading ¿Book Club,¿ and underneath it you can click on the Science Fiction Book Club.

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    Posted October 22, 2012

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    Posted June 23, 2009

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    Posted September 5, 2009

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    Posted July 27, 2011

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    Posted December 17, 2012

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