The Story of the Stoneby Barry Hughart
Set in a mythical, medieval China where folklore and history are indistinguishable, a dead monk, an ancientand now missingmanuscript, and a ghostly murderer entice the venerable Master Li and his faithful companion Number Ten Ox into the Valley of Sorrows for a deadly and uproarious confrontation with the long-dead Laughing Prince.
- Random House Publishing Group
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- Random House
- NOOK Book
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- 2 MB
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I wish the whole series had been written.
Reviewed by Randy Farnsworth, author of ¿A Stand Yet Taken¿. Once again Hughart takes us on a fun and cleverly written journey through Chinese culture and legends. He really goes overboard this time, leading the reader through all the levels of hell and back again. I didn¿t find this story quite as endearing as the first, but still very intelligently written and thoroughly researched. With the exception of Number Ten Ox, there is not one character in this book that is not eccentric and out-of-this-world odd. I think that is what makes the book so charming. You know that each person you meet is going to have more than just a minor character flaw, and will certainly be endowed with bigger than life blemishes and imperfections. As with his first novel, this one is often written in such a fast-paced manner that I found myself re-reading sections to figure out what had taken place. I wouldn¿t say that¿s a major fault, though, and perhaps it¿s just my slow brain trying to keep up. The book follows a classic mystery format, where clues throughout the tale are all explained at the end. But it¿s not Holmes pacing the floor of his den in the last chapter, explaining it all to Watson; it¿s done in a way that all makes sense, with the explanations fitting very well into the storyline. I should make mention of something that I think is a major flaw in this book. The character Moon Boy is as peculiar as the rest, and with one exception, I thought of him as a quaint, likable and humorous addition to the group. That exception is his pedophilia. To have a pedophile as a minor character in a novel is not a problem, and you may call me old fashioned, but to have that person be a major character, and to treat his actions as humorous and almost acceptable, in my opinion is inappropriate. I don't think pedophilia is something to be laughed at and treated so lightly. However, Hughart displayed this character with the accompanying flaws of bestiality and other unrestrained passions, so to include all these traits in one character is probably not too far off the mark. With that said, I definitely wouldn¿t recommend this book for young readers.
This book is nowhere near to being in the same league as The Story of the Stone and Bridge of Birds. For one thing, this book is boring. As well, besides the over-abundance of gruesome murder images, there is also explicit profane language, homosexuality, and even cannibalism. All in all, this book was as thoroughly tasteless as it was utterly boring. I threw my book in the trash when I finished with it.