Sunday, August 26, 2012


This is a still from the amazing video portrait of GAO XINGJIAN by ROBERT WILSON – a pure and perfect work of art – on the amazing DISSIDENT INDUSTRIES INC site, whose body of work looks extraordinary and exciting. 
In 2000, Gao Xinjian became the first Chinese writer to win the Nobel Prize for Literature for a body of work that includes this masterpiece which was begun in Beijing in the summer of 1982 and completed in Paris during September 1989. Known also for his plays and his large black and white ink paintings which have been exhibited widely. Out of all his work, since 1987 only one play has been published in China. He is now 72 and is a French citizen living outside Paris.   
Following a health scare when he was misdiagnosed with lung cancer and under pressure from the 'oppose spiritual pollution' campaign at the time. 'he absconded to the remote forest regions of Sichuan province and then wandered along the Yangtze river from its source down to the coast'. a journey of 10 months and 15,000 kilometres.
'Soul Mountain' draws on this experience but is also about one man's quest for inner peace and freedom. The book is experimental in style and is made up of many levels of thought and speech which, whilst initially confusing, soon flow into a remarkable river of stories and feelings. Gao writes like a painter and also looks deep into the soul of human nature. Reading this book is a mesmeric journey into both magical landscapes and deep emotions. Harrowing and beautiful by turn, this profound work will touch your heart and inspire your imagination.
‘After the Deluge’ by Gao Xingjian. Source:

'The Sorrow of War' is a novel about a man writing his experiences of the Vietnam War, written by Bao Ninh who served with the Glorious 27th Youth Brigade of the North Vietnamese army and is one of only ten survivors of the 500 who set out in 1969 to fight the war. 
The book's protagonist Kien feels a burdensome debt as if he's 'carrying with him the history of his generation.' and he is forced to relive in flashbacks the horrors he witnessed, scribbling at night as if his life depended on it. The opening jungle chapter catapults you into a visceral, surreal world of darkness and danger - one of many vivid scenes of front-line conflict that pepper a story which also encompasses a intense and tragic love affair. To cut to the chase, this is as powerful, visceral and moving as Michael Herr's 'Dispatches'. It is an outstanding work that provides a valuable insight and perspective on the War from the North Vietnamese side – a much-needed corrective.

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