Tun-huang (New York Review Books Classics)

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9781590173626: Tun-huang (New York Review Books Classics)
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More than a thousand years ago, an extraordinary trove of early Buddhist sutras and other scriptures was secreted away in caves near the Silk Road city of Tun-huang. But who hid this magnificent treasure and why? In Tun-huang, the great modern Japanese novelist Yasushi Inoue tells the story of Chao Hsing-te, a young Chinese man whose accidental failure to take the all-important exam that will qualify him as a high government official leads to a chance encounter that draws him farther and farther into the wild and contested lands west of the Chinese Empire. Here he finds love, distinguishes himself in battle, and ultimately devotes himself to the strange task of depositing the scrolls in the caves where, many centuries later, they will be rediscovered. A book of magically vivid scenes, fierce passions, and astonishing adventures, Tun-huang is also a profound and stirring meditation on the mystery of history and the hidden presence of the past.

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About the Author:

Yasushi Inoue (1907–1991) was born on Hokkaidō, Japan’s northernmost island, the eldest child of an army medical officer. After a youth devoted to poetry and judo, Inoue sat, unsuccessfully, for the entrance exam to the Kyushu Imperial University Medical School. He would go on to study philosophy and literature at Kyoto Imperial University, writing his thesis on Paul Valéry. In 1935, newly married and with an infant daughter, Inoue became an arts reporter for the Osaka edition of the Mainichi News. Following the Second World War, during which he briefly served in north China, he published two short novels, The Hunting Gun and The Bullfight (winner of the Akutagawa Prize for literature). In 1951 Inoue resigned from the newspaper and devoted himself to literature, becoming a best-selling and tremendously prolific author in multiple genres. Among his books translated into English are The Hunting Gun, The Roof Tile of Tempyō, and The Blue Wolf: A Novel of the Life of Chinggis Khan. In 1976 the emperor of Japan presented Inoue with the Order of Culture, the highest honor granted for artistic merit in Japan.
Jean Oda Moy was born in Washington State and spent her early years in Seattle, moving to Japan shortly before the outbreak of World War II . She is also the translator of Yasushi Inoue’s Chronicle of My Mother and Shirobamba: A Childhood In Old Japan.
Damion Searls is the author of What We Were Doing and Where We Were Going and an award-winning translator, most recently of Rainer Maria Rilke’s The Inner Sky: Poems, Notes, Dreams, Jon Fosse’s Aliss at the Fire, and Hans Keilson’s Comedy in a Minor Key. NYRB Classics has published his abridged edition of Henry David Thoreau’s Journal and will publish his translations of the Dutch writer Nescio’s short stories and André Gide’s Marshlands.

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The sound of the neighing of horses and hoofbeats approached the two men with a roar like that of raging surf. Hsing-te saw them come. A huge group of soldiers, who had apparently come from behind a hill, suddenly appeared about thirty yards in front of him and charged forward, covering the surface of the earth like ants. In the vast desert, their direction left no room for doubt that the soldiers were advancing at the two men.

Suddenly Hsing-te felt the necklace snap at his fingertips, then he somersaulted backward and fell. The next moment, he was knocked over by the violent impact of the gigantic force which rushed forward; Hsing-te rolled over a few times down the gentle slope and landed in a ditch. Above him, the black hordes flowed by thunderously. Only a short time had passed, but to Hsing-te it had seemed interminable.

When he regained consciousness, he found that he was completely covered by sand in the ditch. He tried to get up, but he couldn't. He wasn't sure whether he had been run over by horses or had been bruised as he rolled down the slope. His whole body ached. It was miraculous that he had survived at all. Hsing-te looked up at the sky as he lay there. He couldn't move, but discovering that only his right arm was mobile, he moved it slowly around and felt himself. As he did this, he was startled by something and instinctively raised his arm. The broken string of the necklace had caught round his fingers and hung limply. Not a single stone was left on it. No doubt the stones had scattered the instant the string had snapped.

Night fell slowly. The pale moon gradually grew brighter and soon shone with a reddish glow. Hsing-te felt faint as he stared fixedly at the sky. The stars began to glimmer around the moon, then filled the heavens. His mind was blank. For some reason, he did not even feel the cold. But he was hungry. If only he could get a drop of water. He looked around, but naturally there was nothing in sight. There was only the vast sandy plain.

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9780870113147: Tun-Huang

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ISBN 10:  0870113143 ISBN 13:  9780870113147
Publisher: Kodansha USA Inc, 1978
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9780870115769: Tun-Huang

Kodans..., 1983
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9784770010865: Tun-Huang: A Novel

Kodans..., 1983
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