After years of studying Freud in Paris, Mr. Muo returns home to introduce the blessings of psychoanalysis to 21st-century China. But it is his hidden purpose, to liberate his university sweetheart, now a political prisoner, that leads him to the sadistic local magistrate, Judge Di. The price of the Communist bureaucrat's clemency? A virgin maiden. And so our middle-aged hero Muo, a Westernized romantic and sexual innocent himself, sets off on his bicycle in search of a suitable girl.
Muo's quest will take him from a Chengdu mortuary to a rural panda habitat, from an insane asylum to the haunts of the marauding Lolo people. Along the way, he will lose a tooth, his virginity, and his once unshakable faith in psychoanalytic insight. But his quixotic idealism will not waver, even as he comes to see that the chivalrous heart may have room for more than one true love.
Dai Sijie's exuberant, touching, and most unlikely, romance is a triumph of unbridled imagination, a celebration of the yearning spirit.
©2005 Dai Sijie; (P)2005 Random House, Inc. Random House Audio, a division of Random House, Inc.
"Wong makes his own performance the centerpiece of his reading, and his audacious willingness to place himself at the forefront is a gamble that pays off handsomely, providing a holistic unity that elevates this audiobook over the run of its peers." (Publishers Weekly, starred review)
It took me a while to understand what the author was trying to say but when I did, I found the story poignant in the manner of Sophie's Choice and artfully done.
This author does not make it easy for the listener but, for me, the story was worth the extra work
OK, so it's about a Freudian psychoanalyst in post-revolution China. He eats, sleeps, and drinks sex, and I got very tired of it very early on. The observations about China were interesting, and some of the character development was fine, but I would not recommend this to my friends.
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