Pow! by Mo Yan

65%

6 Critic Reviews

It’s not a vein of literature I particularly enjoy, and the moments of satirical inspiration do not outweigh the moments of tedium in Pow! — but the novel may well be of interest to scholars of comparative literature.
-National Post arts

Synopsis

In this novel by the 2012 Nobel Laureate in Literature, Mo Yan, a benign old monk listens to a prospective novice’s tale of depravity, violence, and carnivorous excess while a nice little family drama—in which nearly everyone dies—unfurls. But in this tale of sharp hatchets, bad water, and a rusty WWII mortar, we can’t help but laugh. Reminiscent of the novels of dark masters of European absurdism like Günter Grass, Witold Gombrowicz, or Jakov Lind, Mo Yan’s POW! is a comic masterpiece.



In this bizarre romp through the Chinese countryside, the author treats us to a cornucopia of cooked animal flesh—ostrich, camel, donkey, dog, as well as the more common varieties. As his dual narratives merge and feather into one another, each informing and illuminating the other, Mo Yan probes the character and lifestyle of modern China. Displaying his many talents, as fabulist, storyteller, scatologist, master of allusion and cliché, and more, POW! carries the reader along quickly, hungrily, and giddily, up until its surprising dénouement.



Mo Yan has been called one of the great novelists of modern Chinese literature and the New York Times Book Review has hailed his work as harsh and gritty, raunchy and funny. He writes big, sometimes mystifying, sometimes infuriating, but always entertaining novels—and POW! is no exception.


 
 

About Mo Yan

See more books from this Author
Mo Yan has published dozens of short stories and novels in Chinese. His other English-language works include The Garlic Ballads, The Republic of Wine, Shifu: You'll Do Anything for a Laugh, Big Breasts & Wide Hips, and Life and Death Are Wearing Me Out. Howard Goldblatt is research professor of Chinese at the University of Notre Dame. Founding editor of Modern Chinese Literature, he has contributed essays and articles to the Washington Post, Times of London, TIME, World Literature Today, and the Los Angeles Times, among other publications.
 
Published December 30, 2012 by Seagull Books. 392 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction
Add Critic Review

Critic reviews for Pow!
All: 6 | Positive: 3 | Negative: 3

NY Times

Above average
Reviewed by Dwight Garner on Jan 01 2013

Like many Mo Yan novels “Pow!” is difficult to warm to. There are few characters to admire; the novel’s heart is antic but also icy. Mr. Mo has also begun to go back to the well for some of the same imagery.

Read Full Review of Pow! | See more reviews from NY Times

Guardian

Above average
Reviewed by Chris Cox on Jan 19 2013

But while it's true that Pow! doesn't land any blows on the Chinese regime – keeping its fire firmly trained on oafish village leaders and corrupt town officials – what remains is still a rich, original and highly rewarding novel.

Read Full Review of Pow! | See more reviews from Guardian

Guardian

Above average
Reviewed by YIYUN LI on Jan 18 2013

Reading Pow! reminded me of watching a traditional Chinese shadow puppet show, though in this case with lust, bloodthirstiness, torture and other sensational details splashed on to the background.

Read Full Review of Pow! | See more reviews from Guardian

Toronto Star

Above average
Reviewed by Jason Beerman on Jan 04 2013

Pow! is a frenzied stew of stinging satire and theatre of the absurd. Readers are free to interpret it as they wish; the truth is in there somewhere.

Read Full Review of Pow! | See more reviews from Toronto Star

LA Times

Good
Reviewed by Hector Tobar on Dec 14 2012

...his skill makes "Pow!" a wild, unpredictable ride — a work of demented and subversive genius.

Read Full Review of Pow! | See more reviews from LA Times

National Post arts

Below average
Reviewed by Philip Marchand on Jan 25 2013

It’s not a vein of literature I particularly enjoy, and the moments of satirical inspiration do not outweigh the moments of tedium in Pow! — but the novel may well be of interest to scholars of comparative literature.

Read Full Review of Pow! | See more reviews from National Post arts

Reader Rating for Pow!
65%

An aggregated and normalized score based on 19 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes


Rate this book!

Add Review