Turbulence

Turbulence

by Jia Pingwa
     
 

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In this dazzling, earthy novel -- winner of the prestigious Pegasus Prize for Literature -- Jia Pingwa presents an unforgettable chronicle of rural China, a world at once utterly alien and uncannily familiar. Called "impressive and revealing" (Kirkus Reviews), Turbulence follows the lives of two peasants, Golden Dog and Water Girl, through the post-Mao years and

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Overview

In this dazzling, earthy novel -- winner of the prestigious Pegasus Prize for Literature -- Jia Pingwa presents an unforgettable chronicle of rural China, a world at once utterly alien and uncannily familiar. Called "impressive and revealing" (Kirkus Reviews), Turbulence follows the lives of two peasants, Golden Dog and Water Girl, through the post-Mao years and sets their star-crossed love for each other against the political upheavals of China itself. Pitted against the bureaucracy that hamstrings modern China, Golden Dog is an idealistic reporter not afraid to lash out at the abuses and corruption of the rival Tian and Gong clans. As he winds through a fascinating cast of revolutionary cadres, bureaucrats, fortune-tellers, blacksmiths, farmers, and artisans, Golden Dog, however, suffers a series of setbacks. Despite his love for the saintly Water Girl, the two seem destined to be kept apart by the vicissitudes of politics and culture -- she twice widowed and he pressured into an engagement with the seductive Yingying and, racked by guilt, turning at times to the lovely Shi Hua for solace. Part epic story, part love story, part political parable, Turbulence places the reader in a world where the I Ching exists alongside The Thoughts of Chairman Mao. Yet the sheer humanity of the novel transcends both cultural and political differences and makes it stunningly resonant to our own culture. "A rare, richly detailed, and insightful account of life in a Chinese village ... With earthy language and bawdy humor." -- Ann Scott Tyson, The Christian Science Monitor

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Winner of the 1991 Pegasus Prize, this ambitious novel depicts the struggles of Chinese peasants during the '80s, when the People's Republic began shifting toward a market economy. Along the Zhou River, in such places as the tiny village of Stream of Wandering Spirits and the larger Crossroads Township, the persistence of traditional superstitions and lack of modern conveniences make the setting seem closer to the 19th century than to the 21st. Add I Ching philosophy, Buddhist scripture and Communist Party teachings, all of which Jia adroitly weaves into his tale, and you come away with a fairly accurate picture of the beliefs and forces that motivate Golden Dog, the peasant protagonist of this novel. The plot, however, is fairly standard: one man against the corrupt system, represented by clans which dominate the Communist Party structure and use it for personal aggrandizement and also by those peasants who manipulate the already shaky economy. It is Golden Dog's fate to walk a thin ethical line as he seeks to loosen the grip of the clans while simultaneously engaging in free enterprise under the auspices of the Party. Jia's strength lies in characterization. His serviceable prose, like the Zhou River itself, moves slowly, carrying the reader to an ending that is predestined and unremarkable. (Oct.)
Library Journal - Library Journal
Jia Pingwa's novel of life in 1980s China will surprise some Americans and fascinate all. Far from being a Communist polemic, Turbulence is a work of earthy power whose main focus, the tension between unbridled capitalism and traditional social mores, is as pertinent in China as in America today. Both societies, though political opposites, share the same search for a balance between greed and responsibility. Jia Pingwa's characters explore this dichotomy brilliantly. In their mountain village, each tastes success and discovers its hidden cost. Golden Dog becomes an influential reporter but sacrifices love and self-realspect. His philosophical opposite, Dakong, earns great wealth through speculation, only to be brought down by the feuding bureaucrats whose power predates Mao himself. Beautiful Water Girl forms the solid center around whom the new and old worlds swirl. Through her leads the only path away from superstition and dogma. This is an exotic gift for all readers.-- Paul E. Hutchison, Pe quea, Pa.
Booknews
Library of Congress spells author as Chia, P'ing-wa. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780802139726
Publisher:
Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
Publication date:
02/10/2003
Series:
Pegasus Prize for Literature Series
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
507
Product dimensions:
5.56(w) x 8.32(h) x 1.14(d)

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