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The Garlic Ballads
     

The Garlic Ballads

3.2 11
by Mo Yan, Howard Goldblatt
 

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The farmers of Paradise County have been leading a hardscrabble life unchanged for generations. The Communist government has encouraged them to plant garlic, but selling the crop is not as simple as they believed. Warehouses fill up, taxes skyrocket, and government officials maltreat even those who have traveled for days to sell their harvest. A surplus on the

Overview

The farmers of Paradise County have been leading a hardscrabble life unchanged for generations. The Communist government has encouraged them to plant garlic, but selling the crop is not as simple as they believed. Warehouses fill up, taxes skyrocket, and government officials maltreat even those who have traveled for days to sell their harvest. A surplus on the garlic market ensues, and the farmers must watch in horror as their crops wither and rot in the fields. Families are destroyed by the random imprisonment of young and old for supposed crimes against the state.   

The prisoners languish in horrifying conditions in their cells, with only their strength of character and thoughts of their loved ones to save them from madness. Meanwhile, a blind minstrel incites the masses to take the law into their own hands, and a riot of apocalyptic proportions follows with savage and unforgettable consequences. The Garlic Ballads is a powerful vision of life under the heel of an inflexible and uncaring government. It is also a delicate story of love between man and woman, father and child, friend and friend—and the struggle to maintain that love despite overwhelming obstacles.

Editorial Reviews

San Francisco Chronicle
“A work of considerable political power and lyrical beauty.”
Newsday
“Mo Yan gives you a sharp and sentimental view of peasant life, while demonstrating at full throttle the nastiness, brutality, and brevity of it all.”
New York Times
““Mo Yan is one of China’s best writers.””
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Through this powerful, fiercely lyrical story of a Chinese garlic farmer's 1988 revolt, Mo Yan (Red Sorghum) uncompromisingly portrays the harsh realities of an existence difficult to comprehend. Garlic farmer Gao Ma aches with love for Fang Jinju, whose parents are using her as a pawn in an arranged marriage. Defying her two thuggish brothers and her father, who in the past has savagely beaten her, Jinju, pregnant with Gao Ma's child, runs away with him but meets a tragic end. The grief-stricken farmer is thrown in jail for his alleged role as ringleader of a farmer's riot-an angry mob has destroyed a government building to protest a county official's refusal to buy the garlic crop amid a surfeit. Gao Ma's fate is entwined with that of another imprisoned protestor, Gao Yang, who preserves his sanity through the love of his wife and blind 10-year-old daughter. Mo Yan fuses gritty realism, stunning imagery, acid satire, bawdiness, dream sequences, interior monologues, and flashbacks to the Cultural Revolution. His luminous prose lays bare the corrupt bureaucracy, grinding poverty and pervasive oppression borne by millions of inhabitants in the People's Republic. (May)
Library Journal
Mo Yan, author of the critically acclaimed Red Sorghum (LJ 3/15/93), which was made into a film directed by Zhang Yimou, presents a tale of brutality and corruption set in China in 1988. The novel focuses on the lives of three individuals imprisoned for their roles in the garlic revolt, a peasant uprising against corrupt government. Gao Ma has additional problems: his beloved has been promised to another in direct violation of the Marriage Laws, but the officials are siding with her family. The peasants are seen as adhering to the idealism of socialism and wondering how the new social formation came to be embodied in such corrupt officials. The action of the novel goes backward and forward in time, alternating between fact and fantasy. Overall, a very violent book, occasionally interrupted by scenes of domestic harmony; for a specialized readership.-Debbie Bogenschutz, Cincinnati Technical Coll.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781611457070
Publisher:
Arcade Publishing
Publication date:
11/01/2012
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
304
Sales rank:
321,568
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.10(h) x 0.90(d)

What People are Saying About This

Kenzaburo Oe
"If I were to choose a Nobel Laureat, it would be Mo Yan." -- Winner of the 1994 Nobel Prize for Literature

Meet the Author

Mo Yan was born in 1955 to a peasant family in Shandong. He is the author of Red Sorghum, The Republic of Wine, Shifu, and You’ll Do Anything for a Laugh. He and his family live in Beijing.

Howard Goldblatt has taught modern Chinese literature and culture for more than a quarter of a century. He is the foremost translator of modern and contemporary Chinese literature in the West and a former Guggenheim Fellow.

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The Garlic Ballads 3.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 11 reviews.
BillR More than 1 year ago
The book is excellent, although I'm not sure it is Nobel-Prize-worthy. The e-book production on the other hand is terrible. It looks like it was scanned and then never proofed. So many typographical errors that it is distracting.
Anonymous 10 months ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
War Games tonight!!!<br> Camp Change!!! Time to be the real &real<_>epublic of Greece!!!<p> Thats it for today!<p> ~&#167&#1108&#1026 &#25282
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
?oiqyy
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a rubbish book!