BLADES OF GRASS by Lao She

BLADES OF GRASS

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KIRKUS REVIEW

paper 0-8248-1803-2 Blades Of Grass ($48.00; $18.95 paper; Oct. 1; 320 pp.; 0-8248-1506-8; paper 0-8248-1803-2) An attractive collection of 15 nicely varied stories, set mostly in China in the 1930s, by the pseudonymous master (1899—1966) who was murdered by Mao’s Red Guards, then —rehabilitated— in 1978. Several of Lao She’s richly characterized, fully plotted stories are explicitly political: the bitter —Neighbors— and the ironical —Black Li and White Li— (about two brothers whose respective liberal and conservative beliefs keep them forever estranged) are exemplary. But he’s at his best in tales that teeter on the edge of surrealism and fantasy, such as —Rabbit— (a Gogolian fable of obsession, sexual irregularity, and psychological disintegration), the wry —Also a Triangle— (about two financially strapped soldiers who share a wife), and especially the subtle, disturbing —An Old Man’s Romance.— Lao She’s expert translators have also provided a detailed and informative Postscript that convincingly makes the case for including him among China’s greatest modern writers.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1999
ISBN: 0-8248-1506-8
Page count: 320pp
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1st, 1999