Synopses & Reviews
One Man's Bible is the second novel by Nobel Prize-winning author Gao Xingjian to appear in English. Following on the heels of his highly praised Soul Mountain, this later work is as candid as the first, and written with the same grace and beauty.
In a Hong Kong hotel room in 1996, Gao Xingjian's lover, Marguerite, stirs up his memories of childhood and early adult life under the shadow of Mao Zedong and the Cultural Revolution. Gao has been living in self-imposed exile in France and has traveled to this Western-influenced Chinese city-state, so close to his homeland, for the staging of one of his plays.
What follows is a fictionalized account of Gao Xingjian's life under the Communist regime. Whether in "beehive" offices in Beijing or in isolated rural towns, daily life is riddled with paranoia and fear, as revolutionaries, counterrevolutionaries, reactionaries, counterreactionaries, and government propaganda turn citizens against one another. It is a place where a single sentence spoken ten years earlier can make one an enemy of the state. Gao evokes the spiritual torture of political and intellectual repression in graphic detail, including the heartbreaking betrayals he suffers in his relationships with women and men alike.One Man's Bible is a profound meditation on the essence of writing, on exile, on the effects of political oppression on the human spirit, and on how the human spirit can triumph.
About the Author
Gao Xingjian (whose name is pronounced gow shing-jen) is the first Chinese recipient of the Nobel Prize in Literature. Born in 1940 in Jiangxi province in eastern China, he has lived in France since 1987. Gao Xingjian is an artistic innovator, in both the visual arts and literature. He is that rare multitalented artist who excels as novelist, playwright, essayist, director, and painter. In addition to Soul Mountain and One Man's Bible, a book of his plays, The Other Shore, and a volume of his paintings, Return to Painting, have been published in the United States.