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Wolf Totem

by

Wolf Totem Cover

 

Awards

Winner of the inaugural Man Asian Literary Prize

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

An epic Chinese tale in the vein of The Last Emperor, Wolf Totem depicts the dying culture of the Mongols — the ancestors of the Mongol hordes who at one time terrorized the world — and the parallel extinction of the animal they believe to be sacred: the fierce and otherworldly Mongolian wolf.

Published under a pen name, Wolf Totem was a phenomenon in China, breaking all sales records there and earning the distinction of being the second most read book after Mao's little red book. There has been much international excitement too — to date, rights have been sold in thirteen countries. Wolf Totem is set in 1960s China — the time of the Great Leap Forward, on the eve of the Cultural Revolution. Searching for spirituality, Beijing intellectual Chen Zhen travels to the pristine grasslands of Inner Mongolia to live among the nomadic Mongols — a proud, brave, and ancient race of people who coexist in perfect harmony with their unspeakably beautiful but cruel natural surroundings.

Their philosophy of maintaining a balance with nature is the ground stone of their religion, a kind of cult of the wolf. The fierce wolves that haunt the steppes of the unforgiving grassland searching for food are locked with the nomads in a profoundly spiritual battle for survival-a life-and-death dance that has gone on between them for thousands of years. The Mongols believe that the wolf is a great and worthy foe that they are divinely instructed to contend with, but also to worship and to learn from. Chen's own encounters with the otherworldly wolves awake a latent primitive instinct in him, and his fascination with them blossoms into obsession, then reverence.

After many years, the peace is shattered with the arrival of Chen's kinfolk, Han Chinese, sent from the cities to bring modernity to the grasslands. They immediately launch a campaign to exterminate the wolves, sending the balance that has been maintained with religious dedication for thousands of years into a spiral leading to extinction — first the wolves, then the Mongol culture, finally the land. As a result of the eradication of the wolves, rats become a plague and wild sheep graze until the meadows turn to dust. Mongolian dust storms glide over Beijing, sometimes blocking out the moon. Part period epic, part fable for modern days, Wolf Totem is a stinging social commentary on the dangers of China's overaccelerated economic growth as well as a fascinating immersion into the heart of Chinese culture.

Review:

"[A] naturalistic, gripping, and deeply affecting novel reminding us how badly we humans have managed our world. Highly recommended." Library Journal

Review:

"Jiang's story is a careful, quiet one of cultures in collision, capably brought into unadorned English by translator Goldblatt." Kirkus Reviews

Review:

"While Wolf Totem could be enjoyed as just a simple, beautifully told tale, you might also finish it with fresh, singular insight into the complexities and subtleties of a country and culture that most of us don't — but had better begin to — understand." Very Short List

Synopsis:

An epic Chinese tale, Wolf Totem depicts the dying culture of the Mongols — the descendants of the Mongol hordes who at one time terrorized the world — and the parallel extinction of the animal they believe to be sacred: the fierce and otherworldly Mongolian wolf.

Synopsis:

Published in China in 2004, Wolf Totem has broken all sales records, selling millions of copies (along with millions more on the black market).. Part period epic, part fable for modern days, Wolf Totem depicts the dying culture of the Mongolsathe ancestors of the Mongol hordes who at one time terrorized the worldaand the parallel extinction of the animal they believe to be sacred: the fierce and otherworldly Mongolian wolf. Beautifully translated by Howard Goldblatt, the foremost translator of Chinese fiction, this extraordinary novel is finally available in English.

Synopsis:

China's runaway bestseller and winner of the inaugural Man Asian Literary Prize

Published in China in 2004, Wolf Totem has broken all sales records, selling millions of copies (along with millions more on the black market).. Part period epic, part fable for modern days, Wolf Totem depicts the dying culture of the Mongols-the ancestors of the Mongol hordes who at one time terrorized the world-and the parallel extinction of the animal they believe to be sacred: the fierce and otherworldly Mongolian wolf. Beautifully translated by Howard Goldblatt, the foremost translator of Chinese fiction, this extraordinary novel is finally available in English.

About the Author

Jiang Rong was born in Jiangsu in 1946. His father's job saw the family move to Beijing in 1957, and Jiang entered the Central Academy of Fine Art in 1967. His education cut short by events in China, the twenty-one-year-old Jiang volunteered to work in Inner Mongolia's East Ujimqin Banner in 1967, where he lived and labored with the native nomads for the next eleven years of his life. He took with him two cases filled with Chinese translations of Western literary classics, and spent years immersed in personal studies of Mongolian history, culture, and tradition. A growing fascination for the mythologies surrounding the wolves of the grasslands inspired him to learn all he could about them and he adopted and raised an orphaned wolf cub. In 1978 he returned to Beijing, continuing his education at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences one year later. Jiang worked as an academic until his retirement in 2006. Wolf Totem is a fictional account of life in the 1970s that draws on Jiang's personal experience of the grasslands of China's border region.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780143115144
Author:
Rong, Jiang
Publisher:
Penguin Books
Translator:
Goldblatt, Howard
Author:
Goldblatt, Howard
Subject:
Historical - General
Subject:
Historical
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Paperback / softback
Publication Date:
20090331
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
from 12
Language:
English
Illustrations:
b/w map of china in fm spread
Pages:
544
Dimensions:
8.32x5.52x1.17 in. .95 lbs.
Age Level:
17-17

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Related Subjects


Featured Titles » General
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z

Wolf Totem Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$8.95 In Stock
Product details 544 pages Penguin Books - English 9780143115144 Reviews:
"Review" by , "[A] naturalistic, gripping, and deeply affecting novel reminding us how badly we humans have managed our world. Highly recommended."
"Review" by , "Jiang's story is a careful, quiet one of cultures in collision, capably brought into unadorned English by translator Goldblatt."
"Review" by , "While Wolf Totem could be enjoyed as just a simple, beautifully told tale, you might also finish it with fresh, singular insight into the complexities and subtleties of a country and culture that most of us don't — but had better begin to — understand."
"Synopsis" by , An epic Chinese tale, Wolf Totem depicts the dying culture of the Mongols — the descendants of the Mongol hordes who at one time terrorized the world — and the parallel extinction of the animal they believe to be sacred: the fierce and otherworldly Mongolian wolf.
"Synopsis" by , Published in China in 2004, Wolf Totem has broken all sales records, selling millions of copies (along with millions more on the black market).. Part period epic, part fable for modern days, Wolf Totem depicts the dying culture of the Mongolsathe ancestors of the Mongol hordes who at one time terrorized the worldaand the parallel extinction of the animal they believe to be sacred: the fierce and otherworldly Mongolian wolf. Beautifully translated by Howard Goldblatt, the foremost translator of Chinese fiction, this extraordinary novel is finally available in English.
"Synopsis" by ,
China's runaway bestseller and winner of the inaugural Man Asian Literary Prize

Published in China in 2004, Wolf Totem has broken all sales records, selling millions of copies (along with millions more on the black market).. Part period epic, part fable for modern days, Wolf Totem depicts the dying culture of the Mongols-the ancestors of the Mongol hordes who at one time terrorized the world-and the parallel extinction of the animal they believe to be sacred: the fierce and otherworldly Mongolian wolf. Beautifully translated by Howard Goldblatt, the foremost translator of Chinese fiction, this extraordinary novel is finally available in English.

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