Wolf Totem

Wolf Totem

Jiang Rong Howard Goldblatt / Dec 02, 2020

Wolf Totem 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 extin

  • Title: Wolf Totem
  • Author: Jiang Rong Howard Goldblatt
  • ISBN: 9781594201561
  • Page: 281
  • Format: Hardcover
  • 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 salesAn 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.

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      281 Jiang Rong Howard Goldblatt
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    About "Jiang Rong Howard Goldblatt"

      • Jiang Rong Howard Goldblatt

        Jiang Rong real name L Jiamin was born in Beijing in 1946 and is a Chinese dissident and author, most famous for his best selling 2004 novel Wolf Totem He is married to fellow novelist Zhang Kangkang.enpedia wiki L _Jiamin


    765 Comments

    1. This is the second book I've read in two months which came from the period of the Cultural Revolution. It approaches the same themes from a different setting. A young schoolboy is sent down to the countryside and made to learn from the peasants. But this story is something different - the young schoolboy is sent to the Chinese province of Inner Mongolia and made to live with the nomadic mongols. Their way of life is something completely alien to his experience. The tribesmen are so finely attune [...]


    2. This has been a reading experience unlike any other for me. Through the eyes of a Chinese student, sent to Inner Mongolia as part of a volunteer program during the Cultural Revolution, we see a nomadic way of life as it has existed for centuries and as it is on the verge of it's death before encroaching masses of Chinese seeking land and food. (The author was involved in the same type of program for 11 years, beginning in 1967.)Chen Zhen, and 2 or 3 like-minded friends in the student brigade, re [...]


    3. I finished this book 2 days ago, after having my head buried in it for 4 days and I just can't stop thinking about it. It is the most wonderful book and has shot straight into my Top 5 of all time.From the very first page I was hooked. Jiang Rong creates such a vivid and compelling narrative that I found myself similtaniously gripped with the story yet trying to slow down and savour every word, so beautiful was each sentence. Wolf Totem is semi-autobiographical and Jiang's passion for the Mongol [...]


    4. First of all, thanks to GR friend Alice for mentioning this book to me. I would never have heard of it if not for our chats, and it would have been such a shame to miss the experience of reading Wolf Totem.This is a novel based on the author's experiences as a student worker in Inner Mongolia from 1967 to 1979. While there he became fascinated by the wolves of the region, and the life on the grassland. Chen Zhen, our main character, is also a Han Chinese student who has been sent to the grasslan [...]


    5. I read the Chinese edition (original) of this novel and posted my review on June 18, 2008 on Asia Sentinel's website. I'm re-posting it here.Before dwelling on the good points, let me just quickly point out the one thing that I found hardest to accept, and that is the author’s tendency to explain away the weak disposition of the Chinese ethnic race with a simplistic rationale that it is due to the traditional sedentary agricultural lifestyle since the ancient times, and then to attribute all g [...]


    6. OK, yesterday I finished it. I have to give it 5 stars, but I really NEED someone to answer one question. Did the author really raise a wolf cub? This is the one thing that is terrible about historical fiction - being unsure what exactly is fiction and what is not. I know that this has no real significance in this book, but I need to know. If somebody reads this and knows, please send me a message! The preface by the translator says this is a quasi-autobiographical novel.I have to say this to so [...]


    7. "Old longings nomadic leap,
Chafing at custom's chain;
Again from its brumal sleep
Wakens the ferine strain."The Wolf Totem, like The Call of the Wild, a book that it is often compared to, calls for a return to unfettered nature, with its individualism and harsh, but utterly logical values. The wolves don’t kill because they are cruel, but because, like all other living creatures, they need to eat to sustain themselves. The beautiful Inner Mongolian grassland which serves as the setting [...]


    8. Wolf Totem = Totem Serigala adalah sebuah buku semi autobiografi yang ditulis oleh Jiang Rong mengenai semasa hidupnya di sebuah Padang Rumput Mongolia, atau tepatnya di Olonbulag, Mongolia.Dengan memperkenalkan diri sebagai Chen Zhen dalam buku ini, Jiang Rong mengupas tuntas misteri yang tersembunyi di Olonbulag dan bagaimana masyarakat Nomaden yang selalu berpindah tempat di alam liar tersebut bisa mempertahankan hidup mereka. Di buku ini kita juga diajak menyelami ajaran mistis para penduduk [...]


    9. I loved it. Heartbreaking and pertinent. Setting aside any reservations one might have about style (one reads for many things, style being only one of them), I enjoyed the book most for its depiction of the social and bureaucratic processes of the Great Leap Forward and how these brought about the destruction of a culture and of an ecology. The story has an urgent poignancy with its lessons wrapped in a nice little tale along the lines of Born Free, but with a less happy ending. Chen’s love fo [...]


    10. I really like this book, but its translation is a problem. I have both the Chinese and the English versions, and quite a bit of the original is left untranslated in the English release.In the Chinese edition, there is a quote from a famous person (both Western and Eastern) before each chapter that sort of sets the theme for the chapter, gives further insight into the political ideas in the story, etc. These quotes are completely omitted in the translated version. In addition, there is a 50 pages [...]


    11. رغم أني استغرقت وقت طويل في القراءة وكدت أن أتوقف في أكثر من مرة ( خصوصاً في النصف الأول منها ) إلا أني بعد الانتهاء أشعر برضا تام عما قرأته رغم تحفظي على الإغراق في التفاصيل والإسهاب في أكثر من موضع بلا داعٍ لا أبالغ إن قلت أن تجربتي مع سهوب منغوليا في هذا الكتاب تحمل ملامح كب [...]


    12. Serigala tiba-tiba menjadi harapan bagi Chen Zhen, pelajar muda dari Beijing yang akibat politik dikirim ke Olunbulag, sebuah daerah di pedalaman Mongolia. Dari seekor serigala, Chen Zhen tidak hanya belajar tentang pengetahuan, tetapi juga kearifan. Belajar tentang serigala, kita akan belajar tentang kehidupan. Saya merasa, pesan inilah yang ingin disampaikan oleh Jiang Rong dalam novel Wolf Totem ini. Ada yang mengatakan nostalgia adalah rasa pedih yang mulia. Saya sependapat jika ada yang men [...]


    13. I consider this to be one of the most important books I've ever read. I also think I need to make a GR shelf titled 'books that have made me cry,' and put this one on it, because despite some of my past posturing to the contrary, I'm apparently just a gigantic Koosh ball made of tears and snot. At least I don't cry at Hallmark commercials--I haven't sunk that lowt.So, why is this book important--so important, in fact, that I believe it should be required reading in all high schools in America st [...]


    14. Apparently moving to China has slowed down my reading considerably.Wolf Totem was a massive best seller here in 2005; despite being somewhat literary it broke every sales record the country has, short of Mao's little red book. It was also made into a movie that did equally well. I decided to check it out to get a feel for modern pop-literature zeitgeist in China, but I think I suffered from a culture gap. It's about a Beijing student sent to inner Mongolia during the cultural revolution in the 1 [...]


    15. Od okamžiku, kdy jsem poprvé pojala úmysl si Totem vlka přečíst, to trvalo řadu let, ale konečně jsme se sešli a to čekání stálo za to! Totem vlka je jedna z těch úchvatných knih, které můžete číst téměř jakkoli se vám zamane a pořád si přijdete na své. Můžete jej číst jako jakési Volání divočiny mongolské stepi, jako prostý příběh s jasným poselstvím. Můžete jej číst jako mnohovrstevnaté dílo s mnoha zřejmými i skrytými přirovnáními, jako [...]


    16. This is not easy reading. The writing is pretty simple, being a translation. But the content doesn't sit easy. Am not the kind who can sit through a documentary on wildlife easily; the bad news about habitat destruction and their being driven towards extinction comes soon enough. I had to repeatedly read to note that wolves are not extinct and are in the Least Concern category of IUCN. But then, this is not a tale of just wolves. This is about a grassland, an ecosystem and a way of life that su [...]


    17. Guh Let me justpose myself a bit. Deep breaths Okay.Man. I haven't cried like that in a loooong time. And I totally wasn't expecting it; I mean, it came out of nowhere. The first half of the book was interesting, and I liked the characters, and I found the conflicts between the nomadic and agricultural ways of life compelling, but Well, it was slow going somewhat. Things happen at a plodding sort of pace, despite all the man vs. wolf battles going on. And a lot of the dialogue felt very forced-- [...]


    18. اذا لم تكن لديك قدرة على المطاولة فالرواية طويلة جداً ستمائة صفحة من القطع الكبير والخط صغير جداً مغرقة في التفاصيل ولكنها ملحمة إنسانية كاملة عمر من التجارب البيئية والإنسانية الذئب العدو الذي ستجبرك الرواية على حبه والإنسان الحليف الذي تجبرك على كرهه فائدتان رئيسيتان : [...]


    19. Setiap mendengar kata serigala, gambaran makhluk buas yang akrab dengan kegelapan langsung terlintas di pikiran, walaupun pada kenyataannya hanya segelintir orang yang pernah melihatnya secara langsung. Binatang ini begitu tebal diselimuti mitos dan misteri sehingga nyaris menjadi legenda. Beruang, harimau, atau gajah yang perkasa masih bisa dilihat di kebun binatang atau pertunjukan sirkus. Tapi serigala? Mereka lebih baik mati daripada menjadi tawanan.Pesona serigala yang begitu kuat dan mengu [...]


    20. Trying to balance my comments about this book is something of a challenge. From a literary perspective, "Wolf Totem" is weak. The dialogue is highly contrived and tiresomely didactic. What is being preached is fairly simple: the Mongols carry the spirit of the wolf, and it was this that enabled Genghis Khan to build his great empire. By contrast, the Chinese agriculturalists are sheep whose spiritless lifestyle makes them passive victims even as their ever-growing population means that they will [...]


    21. The primary reason I read this book was because of the fact I needed another book--there was a sale, and I needed one more book to get the deal. I picked it up because I liked the color and the title, read the description, and thought it seemed fairly interesting. At the beginning of the book I was mildly interested; I kept waiting for something suspenseful and more interesting to happen. Until finally I became transfixed with the play of the words and the story itself.I honestly found Wolf Tote [...]


    22. ஓநாய் குலச்சின்னம்---------------------------------------------------ஒரு புதிய கலாச்சாரம் தலையெடுக்கும் போது அதற்க்கு முந்தைய கலாச்சார பழக்கவழக்கங்கள் மற்றும் நம்பிக்கைகள் எவ்வித புரிதலும் இன்றி வழுக்கட்டாயமாக ப [...]


    23. Put it down to being something lost in translation, but the book's prose was rather dry. Nevertheless, it was an interesting cultural experience and I enjoyed reading of the Mongols symbiotic relationship with the grasslands on which they lived, especially their relationship with their cultural totem, the wolf. Whatever the book lacks, it pays to read it, especailly in this day of our collective enviromental concerns in having needlessly and excessively burned up far too much of our natural reso [...]


    24. Baru mulai baca, baru sampai di sekitar bagian si tokoh utama menakut-nakuti serigala dengan sanggurdi akaka, bisa aja. *Edit*Nggak ngupdate status buku ini saking intensnya baca. Benar-benar cerita tragis tentang 'kemenangan' kerakusan atas kebijaksanaan. Lihai sekali pengarang menempatkan ceritanya; pertama-tama menarik aku ke padang rumput Mongolia, mengajari aku melihat kehidupan padang rumput dari mata Chen, belajar dari kebijaksanaan Bilgee, dan memukauku dengan kecerdasan, kekuatan, dan b [...]


    25. وقع اختياري عليها جذبني اسمها وتحمست لدى قراءتي مقدمتها والجوائز الحاصلة عليها ولكن في الحقيقة اصابني الملل وكدت اتركها ولكن شي ما في داخلي اجبرني على المتابعة فانا لا احب ان اترك شيئا بداته وايضا ليس كا مايعجبنا يجب ان نقراه بدات اغوص في وصف الكاتب لما حوله وللحياة ماقبل س [...]


    26. Би энэ номыг "Үгэн сүргийн үхэрчин" хэмээх Хятад хэлний гүүш Доржсүрэнгийн Болдбаатарын орчуулгаар уншлаа. Энэ эхний хэвлэл нь орчуулагчийн орчуулгыг жаахан өөрчилсөн байсан гэсэн. Дараа нь Орчуулагч Болдбаатар үүнийг мэдээд эх хувиар нь дахин хэвэлсэн сураг дуулдсан. Эн [...]


    27. Үнэхээр сонирхолтой түүх,Хятадууд сая саяараа худалдаж авч уншсан гэхээр бүүр ч гайхалтай. Хэзээ нэгэн цагт би нисэж магадгүй ээ, гэдэг дуу шиг, хэзээ нэгэн цагт бид нэг нэгнээ байгаагаар нь хүлээж авч, ойлгох байх. Чоно гэдэг хийморьтой сайхан амьтан юм даа. Хятад зохиолчи [...]


    28. A surprise, this book. Starring the Mongolian grasslands with all characters secondary to that. There is a stiffness to the writing that makes me think the translation wasn't so easy - or maybe the translator wasn't so easy? - and there's quite a bit of stereotyping with the Chinese depicted as domesticated/civilised and the Mongolians as essentially 'noble savages' all against a background of the Cultural Revolution as we watch a way of life finely attuned to the environment slipping away.The n [...]


    29. Chapter one culminates in a huge battle between a wolf, a woman, her kid, the sheep, her wonderful dog and other participants, that's one of the more gripping and exciting battles I've read lately. And even before that we had the clever horse who saved his stupid rider from the wolves. The animals here are such living thinking beings. The wolves have strategy meets and battle tactics. And they do, you know. This book is written from experience and what experience you can't make this stuff up. I' [...]


    30. At first I thought there would be just too much wolf information and set speeches to sustain my interest - how wrong I was. The Mongolian grasslands became such a precious and magical place that I followed their destiny with emotions charged. The book describes the battle of Chinese development - it's real, it's allegorical, it's personal. Well worth reading but beware of falling in love.


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