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The Corpse Walker: Real-Life Stories, China from the Bottom Up

The Corpse Walker: Real-Life Stories, China from the Bottom Up Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

The Corpse Walker is a compilation of twenty-seven extraordinary oral histories that opens a window, unlike any other, onto the lives of ordinary, often outcast, Chinese men and women. Liao Yiwu (one of the best-known writers in China because he is also one of the most censored) chose his subjects from the bottom of Chinese society: people for whom the “new” China--the China of economic growth and globalization-—is no more beneficial than the old. By asking challenging questions with respect and empathy, he manages to get his subjects to talk openly about their lives.

Here are a professional mourner, a trafficker in humans, a leper, an abbot, a retired government official, a former landowner, a mortician, a feng shui master, a former Red Guard, a political prisoner, a village teacher, a blind street musician, a Falun Gong practitioner, and many others–people who have been battered by life but who have managed to retain their dignity, their humor, and their essential, complex humanity.

Liao crafted the interviews (conducted between 1990 and 2003) with sensitivity and patience, working both from notes and from his own memory of these remarkable conversations. The result is an idiosyncratic, powerful, and richly revealing portrait of a people, a time, and a place we might otherwise have never known.

Review:

"In this rich, often harrowing oral history, Chinese writer (and notorious target of censors) Liao travels to the margins of Chinese society, interviewing 27 outsiders from China's forgotten classes. The book contains an incredible cast of characters: a grave robber, a composer, a leper, a professional mourner paid to wail at funerals, a human trafficker and a delusional peasant who has anointed himself emperor. These conversations, largely recorded from memory, showcase Liao's empathy for his subjects and a particular talent for getting into tight situations; on one occasion, the author is forced to leap out of a three-story building when he fears the Communist government is targeting him for talking to a Falun Gong supporter. Liao's research took 11 years, and his final product is a stunning series of portraits of a generation and class of individuals ignored in history books and unacknowledged in the accounts of the 'new' China." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

Liao Yiwu got in trouble, to put it mildly, for speaking in his own voice. He spent four years in a Chinese prison for circulating a tape of himself reading "Massacre," his underground poem about the killings in Tiananmen Square in 1989. In "The Corpse Walker," the 49-year-old poet and author, who still lives in China and struggles against censorship, speaks through others: He gives us the oral histories... Washington Post Book Review (read the entire Washington Post review)

Synopsis:

This compilation of extraordinary oral histories opens a window on the lives of ordinary, often outcast, Chinese men and women. From a professional mourner to a feng shui master and many others, these interviews capture each person's dignity, humor, and humanity.

About the Author

Liao Yiwu is a poet, novelist, and screenwriter. In 1989, he published an epic poem, "Massacre," that condemned the killings in Tiananmen Square and for which he spent four years in prison. His works include Testimonials and Report on China's Victims of Injustice. In 2003, he received a Human Rights Watch Hellman-Hammett Grant, and in 2007, he received a Freedom to Write Award from the Independent Chinese PEN Center. He lives in China.

Wen Huang is a writer and freelance journalist whose articles and translations have appeared in The Wall Street Journal Asia, the Chicago Tribune, the South China Morning Post, The Christian Science Monitor, and The Paris Review.

Table of Contents

Foreword by Philip Gourevitch

Introduction: The Voice of Chinas Social Outcasts by Wen Huang

The Professional Mourner

The Human Trafficker

The Public Restroom Manager

The Corpse Walkers

The Leper

The Peasant Emperor

The Feng Shui Master

The Abbot

The Composer

The Rightist

The Retired Official

The Former Landowner

The Yi District Chiefs Wife

The Village Teacher

The Mortician

The Neighborhood Committee Director

The Former Red Guard

The Counterrevolutionary

The Tiananmen Father

The Falun Gong Practitioner

The Illegal Border Crosser

The Grave Robber

The Safecracker

The Blind Erhu Player

The Street Singer

The Sleepwalker

The Migrant Worker

Translators Acknowledgments

Product Details

ISBN:
9780375425424
Subtitle:
Real Life Stories: China from the Bottom Up
Publisher:
Pantheon
Translator:
Huang, Wen
Foreword:
Gourevitch, Philip
Author:
Yiwu, Liao
Author:
Liao, Yiwu
Subject:
Political Freedom & Security - Human Rights
Subject:
Social structure
Subject:
Working class
Subject:
Public Policy - Social Services & Welfare
Subject:
Economic Conditions
Subject:
China Social conditions.
Subject:
China Economic conditions.
Subject:
Regional Studies
Subject:
Social classes
Publication Date:
20080415
Binding:
Hardback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
336
Dimensions:
9.31 x 6.2 x 1.3 in 1.28 lb

Related Subjects

» History and Social Science » Asia » China » Peoples Republic 1949 to Present
» History and Social Science » Sociology » Regional Studies
» History and Social Science » World History » China

The Corpse Walker: Real-Life Stories, China from the Bottom Up
0 stars - 0 reviews
$ In Stock
Product details 336 pages Pantheon Books - English 9780375425424 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "In this rich, often harrowing oral history, Chinese writer (and notorious target of censors) Liao travels to the margins of Chinese society, interviewing 27 outsiders from China's forgotten classes. The book contains an incredible cast of characters: a grave robber, a composer, a leper, a professional mourner paid to wail at funerals, a human trafficker and a delusional peasant who has anointed himself emperor. These conversations, largely recorded from memory, showcase Liao's empathy for his subjects and a particular talent for getting into tight situations; on one occasion, the author is forced to leap out of a three-story building when he fears the Communist government is targeting him for talking to a Falun Gong supporter. Liao's research took 11 years, and his final product is a stunning series of portraits of a generation and class of individuals ignored in history books and unacknowledged in the accounts of the 'new' China." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Synopsis" by , This compilation of extraordinary oral histories opens a window on the lives of ordinary, often outcast, Chinese men and women. From a professional mourner to a feng shui master and many others, these interviews capture each person's dignity, humor, and humanity.
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