The Chronicles of Master Li and Number Ten Ox [NOOK Book]

Overview

When I got out of Andover in the 1950s I suffered from fairly severe depression, but this was back when the only such term recognized by the medical profession was “depressive” following “manic” which was one bad gig until some genius renamed it “bipolar disorder” and after that it couldn’t harm a fly. Since I wasn’t lucky enough to qualify for manic and clinical depression didn’t exist they diagnosed schizophrenia and packed me off to a booby hatch. (Which was not entirely a bad thing. Man, the scene at Kings ...
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The Chronicles of Master Li and Number Ten Ox

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Overview

When I got out of Andover in the 1950s I suffered from fairly severe depression, but this was back when the only such term recognized by the medical profession was “depressive” following “manic” which was one bad gig until some genius renamed it “bipolar disorder” and after that it couldn’t harm a fly. Since I wasn’t lucky enough to qualify for manic and clinical depression didn’t exist they diagnosed schizophrenia and packed me off to a booby hatch. (Which was not entirely a bad thing. Man, the scene at Kings Count Psychotic Ward was like awesome!) Then I was promoted to a slightly less odorous asylum where Doctor Oscar Diethelm expounded upon the delights of going snickety-snick on my frontal lobes, and while it would take too long to explain I managed to escape to Columbia University. There I found myself groping through weird landscapes obscured by clouds of pot behind which pimpled prophets of the Beat Generation shrieked, “Our minds destroyed by madness, starving, hysterical, naked, dragging through black streets at dawn looking for an angry fix, or what the fuck, something like that. Yo, daddy-o!” and I said to myself, “Barry, you have found a home.”

When I wafted back into the world a few years later my depression was still there but I was allowed to prove my sanity by blowing things up for the U.S. Air Force. No, not Vietnam. Planting ingenious and mostly illegal mine fields around the eternal DMZ in Korea. Time passed but not much else. I moved to the Arizona/Sonoran Desert where I could live quietly, surrounded on all sides by prickly pear, cat’s claw, devil’s horns, barrel cactus, jumping cactus, and illegal immigrants. I still occasionally dreamed of bright flashes followed by BOOM! which was a shame because I had other memories of the Far East: good memories, warm memories, and in 1977—ten years before Prozac—I decided to use those and whatever else I could come up with to create an alternate world into which I could creep on dark and stormy nights and pull over my head like a security blanket. So I read a lot and scribbled a lot and gradually the land of Li Kao began to take shape. But the first draft of Bridge of Birds didn’t really work and I couldn’t see what was wrong, so I dumped it into a drawer for a few years. Then one day I read Lin Yutang’s The Importance of Understanding and found the prayer to a little girl that I mention in a footnote in the final version. It made me realize that while I’d invented good things like monsters and marvels and mayhem the book hadn’t really been about anything. I opened the drawer. “Okay!” I said to myself. “This book is going to be about love.” And so it is, and so are ones that followed.

Will there be more? I doubt it, and it’s not because of bad sales and worse publishers. It’s simply that I’d taken it as far as I could. Oh, I could come up with more ingenious plots and interesting characters and so on, but the Ox/Master Li format had become just that, a format, and no matter how well I wrote I’d just be repeating myself. Many writers are content to settle down with an endless if predictable series, but I’d be miserable, and so it was like deciding to quit smoking: cold turkey or forget about it, and I chose cold turkey. Anyway, it was a lot of fun while it lasted, and I hope Ox and Li Kao can continue to give fun to readers, and I most particularly hope that on dark and stormy nights some of those readers will be able to crawl into my alternate world and pull it over them like a security blanket.

Farewell.
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Product Details

  • BN ID: 2940013397354
  • Publisher: Subterranean Press
  • Publication date: 9/22/2011
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 634
  • Sales rank: 142,699
  • File size: 6 MB

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 16 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 16 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 16, 2011

    Must read classic!

    I love this trilogy and am thrilled to see it available to download. You will be delighted too. Part mystery, part fantasy, part buddy story, full of love, humor and wit. This is great stuff.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 5, 2012

    One of the best stories!

    Really amasing trilogy! You cannot stop reading it and then you feel sorry you've read all of them so fast so there's no more to read now! This has to be read at least once!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 29, 2012

    Alltime favorites

    If this bok doesnt xapture you imagination then you are not alive

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 20, 2013

    A collection of three novels that starts off strong

    A collection of the novels Bridge of Birds: A Novel of an Ancient China That Never Was, The Story of the Stone, and Eight Skilled Gentlemen

    It starts off very strong. Bridge of Birds is I think the best of the three books. It was then followed up by the weakest of the three. There were points in Story of Stone where I figured the reason you can only get an ebook version of Bridge in this collection is because there would be no other way to get people to purchase Stone and Gentlemen otherwise. Gentlemen does pull the series out of the nose dive, but doesn't quite reach the same level as Bridge.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 9, 2013

    Really one of the classics...

    I first read these books over a decase ago, and they haven't lost their charm in all that time.

    If you enjoy good, witty, adventurous tales with characters you can't help but care about, these are the books for you!

    It just doesn't get any better than this!!!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2012

    One of the best writers ever!

    If you have never read these books, you are in for a treat. I also have a slight flaw in my character, as I find these books both funny and heartbreaking. It took me years to find all three books, so grab these now and enjoy!

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  • Posted August 19, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    The over view of this book that begins "When I got out of A

    The over view of this book that begins "When I got out of Andover
    in the 1950s I suffered from fairly severe depression, " has
    NOTHING to do with Barry Hughart's wonderful fantasy trilogy of life in
    ancient China. Read it when it was first published and have remembered
    it for years. Very happy to see it has been republished (my copies of
    the books are - regretfully- long gone).

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 23, 2012

    You need to read this book!

    This series of books is a combination of "Kolchak: The Night Stalker" and Charlie Chan all set in a magical, medieval China. The only bad thing here is that there are no more than the three books. GET THEM!!!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 2, 2012

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    Posted April 12, 2012

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 2, 2011

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 22, 2012

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 24, 2012

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 1, 2013

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 18, 2013

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    Posted April 4, 2009

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