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Silk Road: A Novel of Eighth-Century China

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 17, 2004

    Intriguing, well-researched and emotional

    Reviewed by Randy Farnsworth, author of ¿A Stand Yet Taken¿. Larsen's novel is a very refreshing view of male-dominated ancient China, told by a woman from a woman's perspective. The story follows the life of a diety that has been mortalized in order to experience life as a human. It's told in several parts, depicting major chapters in the protagonist's life. The tale is part fantasy, part history, part drama, and told in a very unique way. Larsen's language is eloquent and engaging. At times, she uses the first person viewpoint of the heroine/protagonist; other times switching to the flowery diction of a marketplace storyteller; and at other times using a more traditional omniscient narration and even a fair amount of poetry, which plays a major role in the outcome of the story. The story itself is fun and challenging to read; I really enjoyed it. However, there are parts that for me seemed too drawn out, where I wished the main characters would just get on with whatever they were doing. But don't worry, each slow part is followed by many quicker-moving and more exciting events. Perhaps Larsen is trying to make a point about something, but it seems that almost all the characters, both male and female, are extremely lascivious sluts, not really caring who or what they sleep with and what gender their partners are. I found that aspect of the book to be less enjoyable. I would have much preferred the main character to have avoided her fate as a glorified call girl. But again, perhaps the author is trying to tell us something about ancient Chinese culture. I would caution younger readers though, before reading this book.

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