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Mr. Muo's Travelling Couchby Sijie Dai
Synopses & Reviews
Following his runaway best seller, Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress, Dai Sijie gives us a delightful new tale of East meets West: an adventure both wry and uplifting about a love of dreams and the dream of love, and the power of reading to sustain and inspire the spirit.
After years of studying Freud in Paris, Mr. Muo returns home to introduce the blessings of psychoanalysis to twenty-first-century China. But it is his hidden purpose—to liberate his university sweetheart, now a political prisoner—that leads him to the sadistic local magistrate, Judge Di. The price of the Communist bureaucrat’s clemency? A virgin maiden. And so our middle-aged hero Muo, a Westernized romantic and sexual innocent himself, sets off on his bicycle in search of a suitable girl.
Muo’s quest will take him from a Chengdu mortuary to a rural panda habitat, from an insane asylum to the haunts of the marauding Lolo people. Along the way, he will lose a tooth, his virginity, and his once unshakable faith in psychoanalytic insight. But his quixotic idealism will not waver, even as he comes to see that the chivalrous heart may have room for more than one true love.
Dai Sijie’s exuberant, touching—and most unlikely—romance is a triumph of unbridled imagination, a celebration of the yearning spirit.
From the Hardcover edition.
After years of studying Freud in Paris, Mr. Muo returns home to introduce the blessings of psychoanalysis to 21st-century China. But it is his hidden purpose to liberate his university sweetheart--now a political prisoner--that leads him to the sadistic local magistrate who demands a virgin maiden in exchange for his sweetheart's freedom.
Having enchanted readers on two continents with Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress, Dai Sijie now produces a rapturous and uproarious collision of East and West, a novel about the dream of love and the love of dreams. Fresh from 11 years in Paris studying Freud, bookish Mr. Muo returns to China to spread the gospel of psychoanalysis. His secret purpose is to free his college sweetheart from prison. To do so he has to get on the good side of the bloodthirsty Judge Di, and to accomplish that he must provide the judge with a virgin maiden.
This may prove difficult in a China that has embraced western sexual mores along with capitalism-especially since Muo, while indisputably a romantic, is no ladies man. Tender, laugh-out-loud funny, and unexpectedly wise, Mr. Muos Travelling Couch introduces a hero as endearingly inept as Inspector Clouseau and as valiant as Don Quixote.
About the Author
Dai Sijie is a Chinese-born filmmaker and novelist who has lived and worked in France since 1984. His first novel, Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress, was an overnight sensation; it spent twenty-three weeks on the New York Times best-seller list.
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