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A visceral tale of savage beauty so inflammatory that it was banned in Yan's Chinese homeland, The Garlic Ballads portrays a landscape at once strange and utterly compelling. Against a backdrop of corrupt Communist officialdom unfold three intricately woven tales of love, loyalty, and retribution: between man and woman; father and child; friend and friend.
"...it is such a rare achievement these days for a writer to grasp so well the lives of the common people in his country. Mo Yan...convinces us that he knows the hearts and minds and daily lives of garlic farmers....[T]he book is important because it slips the reader into a corner of China where no tourist would go."
Richard Lourie, Washington Post Book World, 06/25/1995Review:
"It couldn't be more obvious why Mo Yan's 'The Garlic Ballads' is banned in China. Within Mo's cleverly deceptive narrative, there are exposes of almost everything that has been sacred in contemporary China....And yet 'The Garlic Ballads' is never preachy or polemical; Mo's attack on power and its abuse in contemprary China is imaginative, almost magical. A compelling narrative (or ballad, as the author wants us to think of it) that successfully fuses artistry and message, 'The Garlic Ballads' is the most exciting novel I have read from China in 30 years."
Chales R. Larson, Chicago Tribune Books, 07/23/1995
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