The Laughing Sutra

The Laughing Sutra

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by Mark Salzman
     
 

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Iron & Silk, Mark Salzman's bestselling account of his adventures as an English teacher and martial arts student in China, introduced a writer of enormous charm and keen insight into the cultural chasm between East and West. Now Salzman returns to China in his first novel, which follows the adventures of Hsun-ching, a naive but courageous orphan, and the formidable

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Overview

Iron & Silk, Mark Salzman's bestselling account of his adventures as an English teacher and martial arts student in China, introduced a writer of enormous charm and keen insight into the cultural chasm between East and West. Now Salzman returns to China in his first novel, which follows the adventures of Hsun-ching, a naive but courageous orphan, and the formidable and mysterious Colonel Sun, who together travel from mainland China to San Francisco, risking everything to track down an elusive Buddhist scripture called The Laughing Sutra. Part Tom Sawyer, part Tom Jones, The Laughing Sutra draws us into an irresistible narrative of danger and comedy that speaks volumes about the nature of freedom and the meaning of loyalty.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"A contemporary version of [a] classic tale...Salzman is a highly appealing writer."

— Philadelphia Inquirer

"Lovingly drawn...very promising and often funny...Salzman is skilled at using his tale to comment on such varied matters as the Cultural Revolution, the Hong Kong drug trade, American amusement parks and...art in West Coast galleries."

— Time

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Hsun-ching and his mentor, Colonel Sun, travel from China to San Francisco in their quest for the Laughing Sutra, a text that allegedly holds the key to immortality. PW called this ``a novel whose sincerity, good spirits and imaginative high jinks make up for some weaknesses in prose and narrative momentum.'' (Jan.)
Library Journal
This first novel by the best-selling author of Iron and Silk (LJ 2/1/87) tells the story of Hsun-ching, a native of rural China raised by a Buddhist monk following his mother's death. After surviving the Cultural Revolution, Hsun-ching agrees to take up his mentor's lifelong search for the last remaining copy of the Laughing Sutra, ``a scroll so precious that whoever understood its message would instantly perceive his Buddha-nature and . . . achieve physical immortality.'' The sutra is in San Francisco, and most of the novel describes the improbable journey of this Chinese innocent to the United States in the company of Colonel Sun, a strange character who claims to be centuries old. This comic tale of a quest and culture clash is recommended for large fiction collections. Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 9/1/90.-- A.J. Wright, Univ. of Alabama at Birmingham
School Library Journal
YA-- Hsun-ching comes to the U. S. from China in the late 1970s, fulfilling the dream of the Buddhist monk who raised him. His companion on the trip is Colonel Sun, a 2500-year-old warrior. Both are naive and unprepared for the complexities of American life. Comic scenes--a first encounter with a television and a visit to a restaurant--are contrasted with situations concerning American values, as Hsun-ching's knowledge of Americans is drawn from stereotypes: he thinks they are always in a hurry, love money, and hate the elderly. His bewilderment is mixed with a tinge of mystery and romance, and the combination will keep readers curious until the end. Although the plot will hold them, this is really a character study: Hsun-ching's unswerving devotion determines all of his actions. The novel is not just for newly arrived immigrants who will identify with the experiences; it can be enjoyed by most high school students.-- Claudia Moore, W. T. Woodson High School, Fairfax, VA

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780679735465
Publisher:
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date:
01/28/1992
Series:
Vintage Contemporaries Series
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
272
Product dimensions:
5.14(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.60(d)

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The Laughing Sutra 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
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I just recently read Life Of Pi and gave it to a friend to read. After reading that he thought I would enjoy this book. It was great. I loved the two main characters in this book. It was very funny and touching at the same time. I think most people would enjoy this book.