A Floating Life by Simon Elegant

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History and legend brilliantly combine in this bawdy "autobiographical" account of the life of famed rabble-rousing Chinese versemaker Li Po. A Floating Life is a magnificent portrayal of a critical time in China's history and the life of a literary legend. Nearly 1,300 years after the fact, Simon Elegant's scrupulously researched novel captures the essence of the eccentric bard of spontaneous verse in full splendor and bravado.

About Simon Elegant

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Elegant was born in Hong Kong. He has spent more than half of his life living and working in Asia. He studied Chinese history & language at the Univ of Pennsylvania & Cambridge University. He is Arts and Society editor at the Far Eastern Economic Review.
Published July 1, 1999 by Ecco. 320 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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Writing in the roisterous spirit of the story's hero, Elegant probes the mythology of the poet in a series of linked tales told in the first person by Li Po to Wang Lung, who is the poet's cringing yet dogged young amanuensis.

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The New York Times

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''What I am seeking,'' he tells a provincial governor, ''can't be found in worldly glory, exams and robes of office.'' Based on fact, legend and a historian's overview of a period more than 1,200 years in the past, ''A Floating Life'' includes everything from descriptions of verse-writing contest...

Mar 08 1998 | Read Full Review of A Floating Life

Publishers Weekly

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bird-catching, astrology, pharmacology, cosmetics) and glorious descriptions of the Chinese mountainscapes make Elegant's account of Li Po's odyssey from sous-butcher to damsel-rescuer, tavern musician and imperial advisor sound as if it were cribbed from the man himself.

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