Su Tong My Life as Emperor

ISBN 13: 9780571220786

My Life as Emperor

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9780571220786: My Life as Emperor
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China's uniquely long history has been characterised as the embodiment of wise stewardship and an adherence to Confucian principles of humanity. My Life as Emperor tells the real story of incompetence, cruelty, decadence and an absence of concern for anyone's well-being but those holding power. It is a chilling yet enormously entertaining glimpse of the dark side of nation-building, as well as a vivid insight into the lives of the palace women and the surrounding court intrigue richly embroidered with extraordinary calamities and rampant slaughter.

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About the Author:

Su Tong was born in Suzhou, China, in 1963 and graduated from Beijing Normal University with a degree in Chinese literature. He is the author of the novel Rice and the three-novella collection Raise the Red Lantern, the title story of which was made into an Oscar-nominated film by Zhang Yimou. Su Tong now lives in Nanjing, China.

Howard Goldblatt, an award-winning translator of Chinese authors, including Mo Yan and Liu Heng, is a professor at the University of Notre Dame.

From Publishers Weekly:

It takes mere days for a shy, wistful 14-year-old prince to turn into a full-fledged terror as emperor when rule over the fictional Xie Empire is unexpectedly bequeathed to him in this gorgeous bloodbath of a novel, the latest from the author of Rice and the Raise the Red Lantern series of novellas (filmed by Zhang Yimou). Told in the first person, the book chronicles the boy-emperor Duanbai's matter-of-fact demands, appetites and diversions, which involve everything from settling paltry old scores with lethal force to removing the tongues of discarded concubines. Only a young court eunuch named Swallow manages to elicit something resembling true affection from the young emperor over the course of their peculiar and at times heartbreaking eight-year relationship. Tong's lush prose style ("The corpses looked like wooden logs lying in the snow-covered wheat fields, though the rank smell of blood hovered above them") provides the perfect counterpoint, as well as startling detail and texture, to the perilous court life it recounts. Threaded in are the moral lessons of the monk Juekong, heeded by Duanbai only after it is far too late. Tong claims in his preface that this "scary dream on a rainy night" is set "in no particular time"; applied to today's world, it becomes powerful allegory.
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