By contrast, the Chinese agriculturalists are sheep whose spiritless lifestyle makes them passive victims even as their ever-growing population means that they will forever expand relentlessly outward, destroying everything good that is in their path (you know, such things as wolves). Having lived in China for a few years, I have a fascination and love for that country. Published under a pen name, Wolf Totem was a phenomenon in China, breaking all sales records there and earning the distinction of being the second most read book after Mao's little red book… Unlike most memoirs of the Cultural Revolution, “Wolf Totem” omits significant emotional as well as political detail. , Despite the author's refusal to participate in marketing the book, deals for adaptations of the novel into other media and translations into other languages have set financial records. The institution found remains of ancient Mongolian totem worship in varying degrees among some tribes in ethnic Mongolia, but concluded there is no unified ethnic totem for Mongolian people after a wide range of fieldwork from April until July 2015 in Inner Mongolia.. The cub’s inevitable destiny, which it brought on itself in fighting for its freedom, seems to be an iron proof that wolves are a species that cannot be domesticated by men. From a literary perspective, "Wolf Totem" is weak. , The author has said he was inspired to begin writing Wolf Totem by accident: he ignored the advice of the clan chief of the group of nomads with whom he was staying, and accidentally stumbled across a pack of wolves. It's an interesting story and I liked the insight into the animal mind. With a production budget of US$40 million, Annaud filmed Wolf Totem in Inner Mongolia, where the book is set, for over a year. Without any respect to the miracle of life and to the other species, serving a system of unstoppable development and limitless profit, the human race continues to destroy his home. Under her leadership, that means expanding access to affordable healthcare, improving education and skills training, respecting working families, cleaning up Michigan’s drinking water, and of course, fixing the roads. With comprehensive contact information, including cell phone numbers, for over 275 million people nationwide, and Whitepages SmartCheck, the fast, comprehensive background check compiled from criminal and other records from all 50 states.Landlords use Whitepages TenantCheck, which is … The film premiered at the European Film Market on February 7, 2015. But if we kill too many of them, there'll be even fewer.”, Smoke and Mirrors : An Experience of China, Empires of the Indus: The Story of a River, Please replace book description & fix title, Goodreads Members Suggest: Favorite Very Quick Reads. But what is surprising, as one other reviewer of Jiang Rong's novel has noted, is that Chinese government officials seem not to have worried much about the political implications of this novel. To know that many if not all of the events in the plot really happened and probably still do in other parts of the world is very upsetting to me. It's basically a first-person environmental history and ecology memoir. The wolf totem was seen as a scout, going out to clear routes for the army to proceed forward and later as an opener of the path to victory. The film was produced by China Film Group and French-based Reperage. In vivid detail, he etches the fall of a once pristine life and the complete degradation of nature and the environment.  The book condemns the agricultural collectivisation imposed on the nomads by the settlers, and the ecological disasters it caused, and ends with a 60-page "call to action" disconnected from the main thread of the novel. I would never have heard of it if not for our chats, and it would have been such a shame to miss the experience of reading Wolf Totem. And has this, uh, unprecedented year gotten completely in the way of... To see what your friends thought of this book. He wrote, "Won’t we all prefer a peaceful desert to a fascist grassland where one dominating race devours all other in a macabre ritual of bloodbath? As a result, in April 2007, the author issued a statement that denounced all such "sequels" as fraudulent; he indicated that he was doing research for another book, but would not be publishing anything new in the short term. This book was quite the reading experience. Beautifully translated by Howard Goldblatt, the foremost translator of Chinese fiction, this extraordinary novel is finally available … In praising the free-spirited and audacious cub, is the author not also trying to say that freedom is worth fighting for, even if it means giving up one’s own life? Part period epic, part fable for modern days, Wolf Totem depicts the dying culture of the Mongols--the ancestors of the Mongol hordes who at one time terrorized the world--and the parallel extinction of the animal they believe to be sacred: the fierce and otherworldly Mongolian wolf. Did the author really raise a wolf cub? , Wolf Totem is narrated by the main character, Chen Zhen, a Chinese man in his late twenties who, like the author, left his home in Beijing, China to work in Inner Mongolia during the Cultural Revolution. There is, however, something quite fascinating here: "Wolf Totem" has been a best-seller in China, despite its frequent, harsh anti-Chinese tone, and its condemnation of Chinese expansionism.  Penguin Books paid US$100,000 for the worldwide English rights, setting a record for the highest amount paid for the translation rights to a Chinese book; an unspecified Tokyo publisher paid US$300,000 for the rights to publish a manga adaptation, and Bertelsmann bought the German-language rights for €20,000. Everyone at all interested in ecology, Inner and Outer Mongolia and wolves. The wolves who feed on gazelles, mountain beavers, rabbits and field rats are doing the nomads a great favor because these animals are unwelcome grazers. Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. He has also authored and edited half a dozen books on Chinese literature. Metaphysical Books and Gifts 2338 N. Grand River Lansing,MI 48906 517-323-1707. The first edition of the novel was published in January 1st 2004, and was written by Jiang Rong. Wolf Totem is a semi-autobiographical novel by Chinese author Lu Jiamin, first published in 2004 under the pen name Jiang Rong. Starring the Mongolian grasslands with all characters secondary to that. Options for Shopping: In-Store Masks OVER MOUTH AND NOSE required; NO exceptions for masks, even for children. Or could it be that they identify with the immensely clever but terribly beleaguered wolves? Chinese censors had allowed the book to be published, and it became a bestseller in China. Just a moment while we sign you in to your Goodreads account. I cry when. , Other writers took advantage of the author's anonymity to write fake sequels to Wolf Totem, including two books titled Wolf Totem 2, as well as Great Wolf of the Plains, all with the imprint of the Changjiang Arts Publishing House. Apparently moving to China has slowed down my reading considerably. March 27th 2008 The Official Whitepages. The message becomes as boring as the endless scenes of hunting and killing. Whatever the book lacks, it pays to read it, especailly in this day of our collective enviromental concerns in having needlessly and excessively burned up far too much of our natural reso. Wolf Totem is based on the 2004 Chinese semi-autobiographical novel Wolf Totem written by Jiang Rong.  The author has said that he believes that "in the West they may understand [my book] more fully" than in China. The writing is pretty simple, being a translation. Start by marking “Wolf Totem” as Want to Read: Error rating book. Welcome back. According to some interpretations, the book praises the "freedom, independence, respect, unyielding before hardship, teamwork and competition" of the former and criticizes the "Confucian-inspired culture" of the latter, which was "sheep-like". I consider this to be one of the most important books I've ever read. It's basically a first-person environmental history a. I'm not sure exactly how I should score this. By contrast, the Chinese agriculturalists are sheep whose spiritless lifestyle makes them passive victims even as their ever-growing population means that they will. What is being preached is fairly simple: the Mongols carry the spirit of the wolf, and it was this that enabled Genghis Khan to build his great empire. From the first page of the first chapter of this novel, the reader is directly immersed into the story and the action in the middle of the Inner Mongolia's steppe. A mistake, the greatest realisation :) Wolf Totem . He has published English translations of more than thirty novels and story collections by writers from China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong. Very sad, but great! Okay. The book describes the battle of Chinese development - it's real, it's allegorical, it's personal. All I could do at the end of a visceral 526 pages was just pick up the raw pieces of a broken heart and wipe away the tears. As Michigan’s Governor, Gretchen Whitmer is committed to solving problems for Michiganders across the state. D&D Beyond See search results for this author. China's runaway bestseller and winner of the inaugural Man Asian Literary Prize Published in China in 2004, Wolf Totem has broken all sales records, selling millions of copies (along with millions more on the black market). , For the 2015 film based on this novel, see, "A Novel, by Someone, Takes China by Storm", "Chinese ex-prisoner now global literary star", "A Wolf in Sheep's Clothing: Beijing's Unwanted Best Seller", "Best-seller urges Chinese to release their inner wolf", "An extended Mongolian metaphor | The Asian Age", "Call of the Wild (Wolf Totem - Jiang Rong - Book Review)", "Grey to Green:The Wolf as Culture and Profit in Mongolia and the Importance of Its Survival", "An Ancient Rural Culture Deals With Wolves Halfway Around The World", "Le Vision, Rob Minkoff Partner for Animated, Decisive Engagement: The Liaoxi-Shenyang Campaign, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Wolf_Totem&oldid=949359632, Articles containing Chinese-language text, Articles containing simplified Chinese-language text, Articles containing traditional Chinese-language text, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, Changjiang Literature and Arts Publishing House, Named as one of the "Ten Best Chinese-language Books of 2004" by international newsweekly, Nominee for the 2nd "21st Century Ding Jun Semiannual Literary Prize" in 2005, This page was last edited on 6 April 2020, at 01:19. But to be honest, I found it hard work to read. What is being preached is fairly simple: the Mongols carry the spirit of the wolf, and it was this that enabled Genghis Khan to build his great empire. The author, Jiang Rong, … Wolf Totem is a quasi-autobiographical novel about a Han Chinese urban intellectual’s personal experience on the steppes in north-central Inner Mongolia during the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976). Brilliantly narrated and gripping tale of a Chinese student who witnesses the destruction of the Mongolian totem and their grassland by the Han farmers and the problem with China's policies regardless of regional considerations. I have to give it 5 stars, but I really NEED someone to answer one question. Until finally I became transfixed with the play of the words and the story itself. ", The Mongol writer Guo Xuebo (郭雪波), a scholar of Mongolian literature and history, has said that the wolf was never a traditional totem used by ethnic Mongolians; on the contrary, the wolf is the biggest menace for their survival. , Wolf Totem exhibited strong sales almost immediately after its release, selling 50,000 copies in two weeks; pirated editions began to appear five days after the book first appeared on shelves. It centers around a young student from Beijing who finds himself sent to the countryside of Inner Mongolia in 1967 as part of China’s Cultural Revolution, where countless citizens seen as “elite” were forced to become farmers in remote communities. The Mongolian grasslands became such a precious and magical place that I followed their destiny with emotions charged. Did you set an extremely ambitious Reading Challenge goal back in January? But the content doesn't sit easy. Spoiler alert. It was scheduled to be released in China on February 19, 2015, for the start of the Chinese New Year, and in France on February 25, 2015. Recommended to The Book Whisperer (aka Boof) by: I finished this book 2 days ago, after having my head buried in it for 4 days and I just can't stop thinking about it.  Jiang released a children's edition of the book in July 2005, cut down to roughly one-third the length. I cry when I see trees being cut down. Out in the Mongolian fastness, Chen scarcely remembers his past life. The Beijing Forbidden City Film Corporation initially sought to hire a Chinese director, but filming humans with real wolves was considered too difficult. One has only to consider all those cultivated French bourgeois sitting just now in their lovely apartments in the 16th Arrondissement sipping a good Bordeaux while reading French novels that ridicule every aspect of the bourgeois lifestyle, or all the Japanese crowding movie theaters to enjoy watching Godzilla destroy everything the Japanese have worked so hard in the last fifty years to build.  Pankaj Mishra, reviewing the English translation for The New York Times, described Jiang's writing as "full of set-piece didacticism. Summary ... BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of … A controversial Chinese tale of environmental destruction, spiritual freedom and the threat modernity poses to the nomadic way of life. Having lived in China for a few years, I have a fascination and love for that country. Find all the books, read about the author, and more. So the nomads in turn would, when occasion calls for it, hunt down wolves just to keep their numbers in check, but never to eliminate them completely, because they are the natural grassland protectors. It is the most wonderful book and has shot straight into my Top 5 of all time. If somebody reads this and knows, please send me a message! I'm glad it was immensely popular in China, and I hope it awakens regard for the enviro. In November 2015, Le Vision Pictures has entered into a two-picture deal with The Lion King director Rob Minkoff and producing partner Pietro Ventani to co-develop and produce the epic animated feature based on the novel. Trying to balance my comments about this book is something of a challenge. - and there's quite a bit of stereotyping with the Chinese depicted as domesticated/civilised and the Mongolians as essentially 'noble savages' all against a background of the Cultural Revolution as we watch a way of life finely attuned to the environment slipping away. 'Wolf Totem' Eulogizes Mongolian Culture A captivating English translation of Jiang Rong's award-winning novel chronicles a Beijing student's immersion with nomadic farmers of … The author, Lü Jiamin, wrote the book under the pseudonym Jiang Rong; his true identity did not become publicly known until several years after the book's publication. (The author was involved in the same type of program for 11 years, beginning in 1967.). Directed by French director Jean-Jacques Annaud who co-wrote with Alain Godard and John Collee, the Chinese-French co-production features a Chinese student who is sent to Inner Mongolia to teach shepherds and instead learns about the wolf population, which is under threat by a government apparatchik. Thank god this is over. A surprise, this book. There is a broad pantheist or monotheist deal going on, but everything in the medium or immediate levels of abstraction is basically conservation science. Part period epic, part fable for modern days, Wolf Totem depicts the dying culture of the Mongols–the ancestors of the Mongol hordes who at one time terrorized the world–and the parallel extinction of the animal they believe to be sacred: the fierce and otherworldly Mongolian wolf. Wolf Totem (simplified Chinese: 狼图腾; traditional Chinese: 狼圖騰; pinyin: Láng Túténg is a 2004 Chinese semi-autobiographical novel about the experiences of a young student from Beijing who finds himself sent to the countryside of Inner Mongolia in 1967, at the height of China's Cultural Revolution. The story is so compelling, vivid, and rich in emotional details, that it’s hard not to believe that it is a true life experience. Am not the kind who can sit through a documentary on wildlife easily; the bad news about habitat destruction and their being driven towards extinction comes soon enough.  By March 2006, it had sold over four million copies in China, and had been broadcast in audiobook format in twelve parts during prime time on China Radio International. [about the protagonist Chen Zhen raising the wolf cub and how he tried to bond with it. "Wolf Totem was released in China in 2004. Jiang Rong (Author) 4.4 out of 5 stars 110 ratings. An emotional story which shows the catastrophic impact of the human civilization to the Mother Nature. Put it down to being something lost in translation, but the book's prose was rather dry. See all formats and editions. Wolf Totem, by Jiang Rong Life on the grasslands of Inner Mongolia is hard and brutal, but it embodies an edifying nobility and symmetry too. I appreciated the look at a very exotic place and the introduction to a nomadic culture, so I gave it two stars for that, but woof. Whether it's health related, or pregnancy chemicals, or whatever, I find myself generally downcast these days, and serving up a 500 page depressing book for a 600 lb depressed person is not the ticket for making the 600 lb person any happier. From then on, fascinated by the wolves, he began to study them and their relationship with the nomads more closely, and even attempted to domesticate one. This is not easy reading. The book was published in multiple languages including English, consists of 527 pages and is available in Hardcover format. The wolves don’t kill because they are cruel, but because, like all other living creatures, they need to eat to sustain themselves. This is the one thing that is terrible about historical fiction - being unsure what exactly is fiction and what is not. , Despite Jiang's stated refusal to attend any awards ceremonies or participate in any publicity, Wolf Totem has received more than 10 literary prizes, as well as other recognitions, including:, Wolf Totem has also been the subject of criticism. French director Jean-Jacques Annaud, despite a history with China, adapted the film, which was produced by China Film Group, Edko Films, and Reperage. At least I don't cry at Hallmark commercials--I haven't sunk that low...yet. Especially towards the ending I couldn't stop grinding my teeth I was so irritated. I picked it up because I liked the color and the title, read the description, and thought it seemed fairly interesting. If the grassland dies, so will the cows and sheep and horses, as well as the wolves and the people, all the little lives.”, “Protecting the grassland is hard on us. His post to this effect on Sina Weibo on 18 February 2015 was questioned by many others. " German sinologist Wolfgang Kubin described the book as "fascist" for its depiction and treatment of the farmers. I'm glad it was immensely popular in China, and I hope it awakens regard for the environment in a ton of people that otherwise were unconcerned or uninformed--I know it made me more aware of my own negative impact--but I hated reading this book. Charu Nivedita, in his review in The Asian Age, called the novel fascist. The dialogue is highly contrived and tiresomely didactic. Whether it's health related, or pregnancy chemicals, or whatever, I find myself generally downcast these days, and serving up a 500 page depressing book for a 600 lb depressed person is not the ticket for making the 600 lb person any happier. Oh, how I mourned for the grassland, and oh, how my heart broke for the herders and the wolves, and man, how I did not want to pick this up ever. During China's Cultural Revolution, a young urban student is sent to live with Mongolian herders, where he adopts a wolf cub. Chen Zhen, the author’s alter ego, spends a decade of nomadic life in the Ujimchin Banner on the Chinese border of Inner and Outer Mongolia. On February 25, he wrote an open letter, condemning the novel and the film, saying they "humiliate the ancestry, distort the history and culture, and insult the Mongolian people. In vivid detail, he etches the fall of a once pristine life and the complete degradation of nature and the environment. Jiang Rong (real name Lü Jiamin) was born in Beijing in 1946 and is a Chinese dissident and author, most famous for his best-selling 2004 novel Wolf Totem. “The grassland is a big life, but it's thinner than people's eyelids. I cried at the end of this book for all that we do. Howard Goldblatt is the foremost translator of modern and contemporary Chinese literature in the West. There is a stiffness to the writing that makes me think the translation wasn't so easy - or maybe the translator wasn't so easy? The winner of the inaugural Man Asian Literary prize, Wolf Totem is the fictionalized memoir of author Jiang Rong, who, as a young rusticated Chinese intellectual, spent eleven years in Mongolia and lived many of the experiences that he immortalizes in his novel. If we don't kill wolves, they'll be fewer of us. The 2004 best-selling book Wolf Totem is said to be second in circulation in China only to Chairman Mao Zedong's Little Red Book.
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