The King of Trees: Three Novellas: The King of Trees, The King of Chess, The King of Children

The King of Trees: Three Novellas: The King of Trees, The King of Chess, The King of Children

by Ah Cheng
     
 

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Three classic novellas—The King of Trees, The King of Chess, The King of Children—that completely altered the landscape of contemporary Chinese fiction.See more details below

Overview

Three classic novellas—The King of Trees, The King of Chess, The King of Children—that completely altered the landscape of contemporary Chinese fiction.

Editorial Reviews

Modern China
Nearly all the Chinese critics who discuss Ah Cheng’s work go to great lengths to praise the spare, concentrated expressiveness of his prose style…. But they see in Ah Cheng’s powerful language an indicator of something else, too—they see in his style an extraordinary evocation of the Chinese national spirit, something that years of class struggle under Mao’s aegis had sought simply to efface.”— Theodore Huters
World Literature Today
Beginning in 1984 with the publication of Ah Cheng’s novella The King of Chess, the last half of the 1980s represented a major turning point in contemporary Chinese fiction. From that time on, contemporary Chinese fiction has been ‘walking toward the world’ (zuoxiang shijie), a phrase that may be taken to mean approaching the quality of the finest in world fiction.”— Michael Duke
Theodore Huters - Modern China
“Nearly all the Chinese critics who discuss Ah Cheng’s work go to great lengths to praise the spare, concentrated expressiveness of his prose style…. But they see in Ah Cheng’s powerful language an indicator of something else, too—they see in his style an extraordinary evocation of the Chinese national spirit, something that years of class struggle under Mao’s aegis had sought simply to efface.”
Michael Duke - World Literature Today
“Beginning in 1984 with the publication of Ah Cheng’s novella The King of Chess, the last half of the 1980s represented a major turning point in contemporary Chinese fiction. From that time on, contemporary Chinese fiction has been ‘walking toward the world’ (zuoxiang shijie), a phrase that may be taken to mean approaching the quality of the finest in world fiction.”
Library Journal
First published in English in the UK in 1990 (as Three Kings: Three Stories from Today's China), Cheng's most popular work is finally available to American audiences. The book's three novellas are all set during China's Cultural Revolution and involve the group of students known as the educated youth (EY). The author focuses on the passions of each of the main characters, which makes them the "king." In "King of Trees," Knotty Xiao works with the EY to fell bad trees and replace them with healthy ones as a means of rebuilding the country. All goes well until he is ordered to fell the immense King of Trees, which is said to have become a spirit. In "King of Chess," Wang Yisheng finds chess both his salvation and his downfall. In "King of Children" (adapted into a movie in 1989), an EY worker is called back from the countryside to teach. Finding that the children do not have any books, the King of Children uses alternate means to educate them, a rewarding but unsanctioned exercise. Not surprisingly, the stories result in tragedy or disappointment, but the touching relational aspects are atypical, and this makes the stories more appealing. VERDICT Not for all readers, this work can be considered by admirers of Chinese fiction, especially works by Han Shaogong and Mo Yan.—Shirley N. Quan, Orange Cty. P.L., CA

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780811218665
Publisher:
New Directions Publishing Corporation
Publication date:
06/29/2010
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
208
Sales rank:
1,319,807
Product dimensions:
5.10(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.60(d)

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