One Man's Bible by Gao Xingjian

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Synopsis

One Man's Bible is a fictionalized account of Gao Xingjian's life under the Chinese Communist regime. Daily life is riddled with paranoia and fear, and government propaganda turns citizens against one another. It is a place where a single sentence spoken ten years earlier can make one an enemy of the state.

But One Man's Bible is also a profound meditation on the essence of writing, on exile, on the effects of political oppression on the human spirit, and on how the human spirit can triumph.

 

About Gao Xingjian

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Xingjian Gao was born on January 4, 1940 in Ganzhou, China. As a child, he was encouraged to paint, write and play the violin, and at the age of 17, he attended the Beijing Foreign languages Institute, majoring in French and Literature. He is known as being at the fore of Chinese/French Literature, attempting to revolutionize Chinese literature and art. At the height of the Cultural Revolution, Gao destroyed all of his early work after being sent to the country for "rehabilitation." His "Preliminary Explorations Into the Techniques of Modern Fiction" caused serious debate in the Chinese literary world by challenging the social realism that was at the core of Chinese literature and art. The authorities condemned his work and Gao was placed under surveillance. He left China for Paris in 1987 and was honored by the French with the title of Chevalier de L'Ordere des Artes et des Lettres. None of Gao's plays have been performed in China since 1987, when "The Other Shore" had been banned. In 1989, Gao left the Communist party. After the publication of "Fugitives," which was about the reason he left the communist party, Gao was declared "persona noon grata" by the Chinese regime and all of his works banned. On October 12, 2000, Gao won the Nobel Prize for Literature, becoming the first Chinese writer ever to do so. He is well known for his writing as well as his painting and has had exhibitions all over the world. Lee has been Professor of Asian Studies at Sydney University and is one of Australia's leading authorities on Chinese cultural affairs.
 
Published March 17, 2009 by HarperCollins e-books. 464 pages
Genres: Education & Reference, Literature & Fiction, History, Professional & Technical. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for One Man's Bible

Kirkus Reviews

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Unless Gao's internationally acclaimed plays are a lot better than his fiction, it's hard to understand why this writer was awarded a Nobel Prize.

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The Guardian

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One Man's Bible by Gao Xingjian, translated by Mabel Lee 450pp, Flamingo, £9.99 One Man's Bible belongs to that sad class of books sold on the strength of their authors having won a prize.

Nov 30 2002 | Read Full Review of One Man's Bible

Publishers Weekly

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In his second novel to be translated into English, Gao combines the form of the Chinese travel journal with a novelistic technique that Milan Kundera (a kindred spirit) once labeled "novelistic counterpoint"—a cadenced movement between the modes of essay, vision and story.

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