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Rickshaw Boy

por She Lao

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495749,876 (3.78)50
"Lao She's great novel." --The New York Times   A beautiful new translation of the classic Chinese novel from Lao She, one of the most acclaimed and popular Chinese writers of the twentieth century,  Rickshaw Boy chronicles the trials and misadventures of a poor Beijing rickshaw driver. Originally published in 1937, Rickshaw Boy--and the power and artistry of Lao She--can now be appreciated by a contemporary American audience.… (mais)
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Mostrando 1-5 de 7 (seguinte | mostrar todos)
Should be first edition of the book published in Hong Kong
  Henry_Lau | Nov 6, 2022 |
Ever wonder what it's like to be a human pack animal? I think it's better for the humans than for animal slaves. Still, it's a hard life. A sad book but an uplifting ending. ( )
  burritapal | Oct 23, 2022 |
Depressing... ( )
  ntwillow | Aug 17, 2021 |
> Paul Bady, T'oung Pao, Second Series, Vol. 59, Livr. 1/5 (1973), pp. 332-335
  Joop-le-philosophe | Jan 5, 2021 |
This deceptively simple book Rickshaw Boy by Lao She (1899-1966) is a classic of Chinese literature. According to the helpful introduction by translator Howard Goldblatt, Lao She was a prolific writers of plays, short stories and novels, and his status as one of the most widely read and best beloved Chinese authors is all the more remarkable given his humble beginnings. His father was a lowly palace guard for the emperor when he was killed during the Boxer rebellion in 1900, plunging the family into dire poverty, which influenced Lao She for the rest of his life.

Despite disruption to his education due to financial difficulties, he was able to graduate from Beijing Normal University and, became a teacher, eventually making his way to the University of London where he taught Chinese from 1924-1929. He read voraciously and became a great admirer of Dickens, whose devotion to the urban downtrodden and use of ironic humour Lao She found particularly affecting; they would inform much of his own work, particularly the early novels and stories. He wrote his first three novels in London, and continued writing when he returned to China, mostly writing stories which critiqued the malaise which inhibited development in China and made it vulnerable to foreign incursions. During what became a turbulent period in Chinese history, his belief in the Confucian ideal of individual moral integrity, shifted as he began to doubt that individual heroism could be of any use in a generally corrupt society. Yes, hard on the heels of Barnard Eldershaw's Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow which posited the hopelessness of individual effort to achieve social mobility or even to keep one's head above water, I read Rickshaw Boy which has the same political and moral message: that individualism is bankrupt in the face of a corrupting and dehumanising social system.

But where the Barnard Eldershaw novel expounded the message in 400+ pages of sledgehammer polemics, the simplicity and elegance of Rickshaw Boy is a different reading experience altogether. Its central character is an orphaned rural labourer who comes to Beijing (called Beiping in the novel) determined to better himself. Despite his poverty Xiangzi is the embodiment of the Confucian man of virtue: he beggars himself to dress neatly and to rent the smartest of rickshaws; he offers superior service; he is as classy as a rickshaw boy can be to get the work he wants so that he can buy his own rickshaw and be financially independent. Never at any time are the disasters which befall him his fault.

If you aren't already feeling uneasy about the cover image on this book, the descriptions of Xiangzi pulling his rickshaw through all kinds of terrible weather and at the mercy of his customers, will make you realise how degrading this form of human exploitation is. In the beginning Xiangzi pities the older men, never imagining that he will be old before his time too:
Xiangzi was not heedless of the wretched condition of the old, frail rickshaw men whose clothes were so tattered, a light wind blew through them and a strong one tore them to shreds. Their feet were wrapped in rags. They waited, shivering in the cold, at rickshaw stands, wanting to be first to shout "Rickshaw!" when a prospective fare approached. Running warmed them up and soaked their tattered clothes in sweat, which froze as soon as they stopped. Strong winds nearly stopped them in their tracks. When the wind came from above, they ducked their heads down into their chests; wind gusting up from below nearly knocked them off their feet. They dared not raise their heads in a headwind, to keep from turning into kites, and when the wind was at their backs, they lost control of both their rickshaws and themselves. They tried every trick they knew, used every ounce of energy they possessed, to pull their rickshaws to their destination, nearly killing themselves for a few coins. After each trip, their faces were coated with dust mixed with sweat, through which poked three frozen red circles—two eyes and mouth. Few people were out on the streets during the short, cold days of winter, and a day of running might not bring in enough for one good meal. And yet the older men had wives and children at home, while the younger ones had parents and siblings. For these men, winters were sheer torture... (p.95)

Summer is equally perilous, on days when the torrid heat means no one should be doing hard physical labour of this kind.

To read the rest of my review please visit https://anzlitlovers.com/2019/11/23/rickshaw-boy-by-lao-she-translated-by-howard... ( )
  anzlitlovers | Nov 23, 2019 |
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Lao, Sheautor principaltodas as ediçõesconfirmado
James, Jean M.autor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Kwok-kan TamIntroduçãoautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Shi XiaojingTradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
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"Lao She's great novel." --The New York Times   A beautiful new translation of the classic Chinese novel from Lao She, one of the most acclaimed and popular Chinese writers of the twentieth century,  Rickshaw Boy chronicles the trials and misadventures of a poor Beijing rickshaw driver. Originally published in 1937, Rickshaw Boy--and the power and artistry of Lao She--can now be appreciated by a contemporary American audience.

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