Mr. Muo's Travelling Couch by Dai Sijie

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Synopsis

Following his runaway best seller, Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress, Dai Sijie gives us a delightful new tale of East meets West: an adventure both wry and uplifting about a love of dreams and the dream of love, and the power of reading to sustain and inspire the spirit.

After years of studying Freud in Paris, Mr. Muo returns home to introduce the blessings of psychoanalysis to twenty-first-century China. But it is his hidden purpose—to liberate his university sweetheart, now a political prisoner—that leads him to the sadistic local magistrate, Judge Di. The price of the Communist bureaucrat’s clemency? A virgin maiden. And so our middle-aged hero Muo, a Westernized romantic and sexual innocent himself, sets off on his bicycle in search of a suitable girl.

Muo’s quest will take him from a Chengdu mortuary to a rural panda habitat, from an insane asylum to the haunts of the marauding Lolo people. Along the way, he will lose a tooth, his virginity, and his once unshakable faith in psychoanalytic insight. But his quixotic idealism will not waver, even as he comes to see that the chivalrous heart may have room for more than one true love.

Dai Sijie’s exuberant, touching—and most unlikely—romance is a triumph of unbridled imagination, a celebration of the yearning spirit.
 

About Dai Sijie

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Dai Sijie is a Chinese-born filmmaker and novelist who has lived and worked in France since 1984. His first novel, Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress, was an overnight sensation; it spent twenty-three weeks on the New York Times best-seller list.
 
Published January 1, 2005 by Alfred A. Knopf. 287 pages
Genres: Education & Reference, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Mr. Muo's Travelling Couch

Kirkus Reviews

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Jun 13 2005 | Read Full Review of Mr. Muo's Travelling Couch

Kirkus Reviews

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The eponymous protagonist is “a Chinese-born apprentice in psychoanalysis recently returned from France,” where he absorbed the teachings of Freud and Lacan, and presumably the resolve to liberate his girlfriend (identified as Volcano of the Old Moon), whose freelance photographs of victims of go...

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The New York Times

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As ''Mr. Muo's Travelling Couch'' hurtles toward its end, one incredible encounter after another forces Muo (and the reader) to reconsider the logic underpinning not only psychoanalysis but modern life itself.

Aug 07 2005 | Read Full Review of Mr. Muo's Travelling Couch

The Guardian

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Mr Muo's Travelling Couch by Dai Sijie, translated by Ina Rilke 224pp, Chatto, £12.99 The enigma of the title is easily explained: "Couch" because Mr Muo is China's first fully trained psychoanalyst, and "travelling" because, when we join him at the start of Dai Sijie's novel, he has returned fro...

Jun 25 2005 | Read Full Review of Mr. Muo's Travelling Couch

AV Club

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It's no great wonder that Dai Sijie's novels wheel around the clashing and blending of cultures—a Chinese writer-director based in Paris, Sijie writes in French about the impact of European writing on Chinese provincials.

Jun 30 2005 | Read Full Review of Mr. Muo's Travelling Couch

Bookmarks Magazine

But we keep reading Mr. Muo’s Travelling Couch for its voice and wit, for the delicious turns of phrase and perfect characterizations of a naif with professional pretensions …" "Sijie’s story meanders sweetly through Muo’s bizarre travels and absurd tribulations amid his gallant determination … ...

Jan 03 2008 | Read Full Review of Mr. Muo's Travelling Couch

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