Soul Mountain, by Gao Xingjian - Conversation #3 [6/1]


(Mindful Ai) #1



Chapters 43- 81 (the whole book)

(Geoffrey Edwards) #2

Sorry, I think I missed this one! I haven’t read the end of the book, either. Did you have the meeting anyway, @Douggins, @madrush and @Dona? I’m sorry if I missed it, I would have attended even if I haven’t done my reading!

(Geoffrey Edwards) #3

The Chinese version of Soul Mountain arrived. Here is the cover and first two pages (well, last two in a way, the book is read right to left, and back to front).

It’s all a bit daunting. It’s going to take a while to dig into this.

(Marco V Morelli) #4

We did meet, @Geoffrey_Edwards, and I felt had a beautiful meeting. I will post the video soon. I am also eager to study the Chinese resources you have shared. This is a book that I feel will stay with me for a while, which I would like to return to in deeper contemplative modes, especially since I only ‘finished’ the reading minutes before our meeting began!

(Marco V Morelli) #5

I’ve got the video posted above. Didn’t have time to write up notes, however. But I loved where this talk went, with @Dona reading passages from the book in Arabic, and Doug and I each also reading aloud. I’m looking forward to our next book of fiction! But I need some time to digest all that stories and ideas we’ve been working with so far…

(Douglas Duff) split this topic #6

2 posts were merged into an existing topic: Writers! Please review this proposed schedule change for our group

(Douglas Duff) #7

The Iraqi poet Dona mentions near the end of the conversation is Bedr Shakir al-Sayyab. And the poem mentioned is translated as Rain Song. Translations can be found online, but wonder which translation you recommend, @Dona , especially if the translation is your own.

(john davis) #9

I really regret missing these meetups due to over booking my schedule. Luckily, I can review the videos and fill in the gaps. Thanks for this opportunity to study a great work of fiction within a creative multicultural matrix.

(Dona Abbadi) #10

I had a wonderful experience reading Soul Mountain and looking forward to our next reading. Rain Song is a beautiful poem, but I have read it only in Arabic, I will look for a translation that I feel close to the original text. And I am looking forward to reading poems from different cultures and languages.

(Geoffrey Edwards) #13

I finally got around to finishing reading Soul Mountain. My overall impression - I loved it (and I loved your third videochat session about it also! hearing the arabic was awesome!). I wrote a short review on goodreads. Here is what I wrote : “Finally finished this wonderful, rambling book, which I hesitate to call a novel. I read it as part of a reading group, which was a good way to read it, as there are depths within the text that emerge more easily and readily from the group than would a solo reading experience, I feel. The book has numerous beautiful and haunting passages, but embarking upon it is more like a journey than a reading really. The unusual use of pronouns means you never get bored, the writer is constantly shifting the narrative ground. No problem understanding why it won the Nobel, but it isn’t a book for everyone.”

Also, regarding the frogs, I wanted to refer you to Loren Eiseley’s text about frogs - it is a gorgeous text and is very much in the spirit of Soul Mountain :

If you haven’t read Eiseley, I highly recommend his books - they all recount the meeting of humans and the animal world that change your perspective of the relation between the two. Eiseley was a naturalist and archeologist.

I also read a review of Soul Mountain that suggested that the reason for the title may be interpreted as the idea that each chapter is like a leaf of a book but then when you pile them altogether they form a kind of “mountain”. In addition to the references to mountains and gods in the text itself, I found this idea appealing and interesting.

I also think Soul Mountain is a book that lends itself to re-reading. I expect of find my way back into it at some point, and look forward to doing so!