Interesting in that it deals w/ horrific conditions that exist in North Korea.
This book is worth a read for multiple reasons: Chinese history, language as it reflects a culture, and a good story.
This is the first book I have read that is a translation from Chinese. I assume that the translator has tried to maintain how something is expressed in Chinese when rendering it into English as I found the phrasing, name epithets, and repetition of ideas interesting and quite different from, say, English translations from European languages. Chinese history and culture form a subtext that drives characters' behaviours and the plot. For example, the multi-generational history of the protagonist's family takes up at least a quarter of the book before he is even introduced as it is important to understand where he comes from. The story is interesting. It unfolds slowly at its own pace, but is never dull. An appreciation of mathematics will add to one's enjoyment of the book, but is not necessary.
Enjoyable, accessible story. It reads cinematically, almost like a screenplay, and I couldn't help but think of films like "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" and "Hero" as I read, especially towards the end. The book is philosophically heavy handed at times, and it's obviously written for a nationalist audience, but the story is strong and the picture the author paints of recent Chinese culture kept me turning the pages.
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