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English ❰Ebook❯ ➨ English Author Wang Gang – During the darkest days of Cultural Revolution a twelve year old boy named Love Liu wonders what life is like beyond the region of Xinjiang in China's remote northwest Here conformity is valued above During the darkest days of Cultural Revolution a twelve year old boy named Love Liu wonders what life is like beyond the region of Xinjiang in China's remote northwest Here conformity is valued above all else and suspicion governs every exchange among neighbors classmates and even friends Into this stifling atmosphere comes a tall clean shaven teacher from Shanghai wearing an elegant gray wool jacket and carrying an English dictionary under his armWith the dictionary as his disposal Love Liu turns to it for answers to his most pressing uestions about love and life and a whole new world opens up for him His classmates the bright troubled Sunrise Huang and the rowdy impoverished Garbage Li also find hope in the unfamiliar and tantalizing sounds of English but in an atmosphere of accusation and recrimination one in which their teacher is deemed morally suspect and mere innuendo can cost someone his life their ideals face a test challenging than any they'll take in the classroomA major bestseller in China where it was voted best novel of the year independently by the critics and the general public English is a transcendent novel about the power of language to launch a journey of self discovery.

10 thoughts on “English

  1. Stephen Durrant Stephen Durrant says:

    I would like to rate this coming of age novel highly The complex political world of the 1970s in the far western Chinese city of Urumchi is described here through the eyes of a young man who cannot uite understand the terrible often cruel forces that swirl about him For this young man the study of English guided by a teacher and mentor named Second Prize Wang becomes an escape and provides a window on another world Much of this is well done and in some ways the horror of the cultural revolution is best portrayed in this rather muted fashion The plot however is often contrived and muddled For example a murder that occurs halfway trough the novel and would seem to involve two of the novel's central characters is entirely dropped Moreover the young narrator's sexual fixations expected of course in a novel of this type become than unbelievable in their fulfillment I won't spoil the plot should you care to breeze through this novel but I am uite sure nothing uite the same happened in your life it sure as hell didn't happen in mine Too bad

  2. Kerfe Kerfe says:

    Oh dreammaker you heartbreakerThe song Moon River will always now make me think of Love Liu and his English classes in China during the Cultural Revolution; its wistful longing is echoed in the unrealized dreams the deep deep loss of possibility for these generations of ChineseWhere does our cruelty come from? did it fall from the sky? Were we just born that way? Anxious uestions hover over weave through Love Liu's childhood and coming of age Here is another world where trust is fleeting and rare where self preservation demands detachment from and total disregard for others' lives Truth and lies are of eual valueAll are guilty All must confessIn their confessions the children are asked to do some soul searching What is a soul? they askThe adults do not know

  3. Eveline Chao Eveline Chao says:

    It was hard to really find myself engrossed by this novel because there was something strangely far removed and distant about the narrator's tone Then again I find this with pretty much every single Chinese novel I have ever read in English so maybe it's something about the translation There were times however when the removed tone really suited the narrator's alienated state of mind and the novel would sort of strike just the right chord of hopelessness and teenage angst and became uite affecting

  4. Un Moine Vexé Un Moine Vexé says:

    Reasonably diverting

  5. Xavier Guillaume Xavier Guillaume says:

    I was looking in the library for a good book when this one caught my eye On the back it mentioned how it was one of the top bestselling novels in China so I knew it must be goodI didn't know what to expect knowing absolutely nothing about the book but I uickly learned it takes place in a part of the world that I knew next to nothing about It takes place in the village of Urumi which if you look on a map is located in Northwestern China almost near Mongolia To the West are the Tianshan Mountains which the main character Love Liu talks about so often in the book He refers to them so freuently and so poetically The narrator has a knack for words and describing what he's feeling through symbols found in nature It really is uite beautiful which helps make English a remarkable book For example Love Liu's crush Ahjitai has remarkably white skin and when Love Liu sees her in the bathhouse he describes her breasts as snow covered mountains For some reason I find this imagery so poetically beautiful I suppose it has to do with how awe inspiring snow covered peaks are and to have skin so white when the people of Urumi are so dark all of it just makes a remarkable imageI suppose the main theme of the book is Love Liu discovering his love for English It doesn't make sense to learn English in Urumi as there are no foreigners that come there The whole idea of it is really uite radical; however throughout the rest of China English has become reuired for students to learn so Ahjitai the Uyghur teacher pronounced 'we gur loses her job and Second Prize Wang from Peking comes to the school to teach English It's kind of sad that Ahjitai loses her job Uyghur is the ethnic minority language of Urumi It's language is closer to Turkish than actual Chinese but it shows how vastly different this part of China is from the rest And so Love Liu begins to learn EnglishI didn't know what to expect At first I thought the children would all be marveled by this amazing teacher and they all would become fascinated by English but I discovered this was not the case Most all of the students hate learning English They find listening to the teacher and saying the radically unfamiliar words over and over uite boring But there are two students Love Liu and Sunrise Huang who take a deep fascination in English but it's hard to know if it is the language or if it is there deep fascination with Second Prize Wang which is the triggerSecond Prize Wang is very different from the people of Urumi He is a gentleman which has a very interesting meaning to Love Liu as the story is also about Love Liu becoming like a gentleman Remember the people of Urumi are very simple and the fine reuirements of a gentleman are considered extravagant and wasteful Sadly when Love Liu decides to spend his money on a pair of non prescription glasses because he feels that it would make him look like a gentleman his parents actually yell at him and hit him shouting out things like What is wrong with you? and Why can't you be like other children? It's all very tragic and there are times I despise Love Liu's parents but there are other times I am amazed by their loveI suppose it can't be helped that they are ignorant These are very troubled times where if anyone sticks out or does something he or she isn't supposed to do it is very easy for that person to be sent away or to jail or even killed as public executions are a very popular pastime for the people of Urumi Punishments seem extraordinarily harsh which you will find if you read this book It is because the communists want everyone to be obedient and behave and if someone has to die to be made an example of so the better at least in their eyesSome have mentioned in other reviews of this book that Wang Gang does not make this book to be about the atrocities of this tumultuous time in history No there are already many other books on the subject Rather this is simply a book about a boy growing up in a certain time So we see the world as he sees it through his eyes and I feel the boy Love Liu mirrors Wang Gang's own life as it feels so personal I feel like Love Liu is a real person and is speaking to me of his real life I'm not sure how true the story is to Wang Gang's but I would not be surprised if it were like an auto biographyI could go on and talk about the obvious how this story is a coming of age novel where the boy sees the world and finds himself and his place in school and in his family and in society etc He discovers his manhood when he comes to puberty and he finds his love for women This is all very obviously put in the book But what I find most appealing in this book is how multi dimensional Love Liu is in his perspectives of the world And I say perspectives plural because they are constantly changing so freuently that it is not that he has only one perspective of the world it's like every which way he turns there is something new to see and experience that can change how he views it sort of like how light and shadow can fall on an object and make it seem drastically differentFor example how Love Liu views Urumi he hates it and he loves it He hates never being able to see the ocean but he loves the Uyghur music He hates how close minded the people of Urumi are and how they cannot see what he is seeing but he is uick to stand up for the town when Second Prize Wang says that it is not worthy of being called a city It's these drastic changes in emotion from love to hate that make the story so interesting It's the same way about his family I am actually uite astounded how often he says how much he hates his parents It makes sense because his parents are often uite cruel to him but they also love him very much But so often you hear the narrator saying things like I hate my mother I hate my father and for so many reasons Yet it's so obvious how much he needs and loves themAll in all it's a simple novel as it's written in the eyes of a young boy but he sees so much and the narrator's gift for words are so impressive that the immensity of the story is so great I knew next to nothing about Urumi prior to reading this book but afterwards I've learned so much And it was through the eyes of a young boy which helps give the story so much depth as he can see things other adults can't It's like they are blinded by all the rules and know no nonsense attitudes but for good reason I suppose because the government controls everything and if you do not follow the correct prescribed behavior they can destroy your life in one uick swoopWould I recommend this book to others? I would as it is a very interesting story with many humorous parts and many sad parts but it does not knock my socks off as some other books do It has a much calmer flow to the story The narrator weaves it and we as readers flow on its poetic brilliance Even when terrible events happened it is not so earth shattering that it shocks the reader but the reader can flow into the terrible events which I think is because of how the story is written The narrator is writing this story of when he was a boy but afterwards when he is about 40 or so So even when he is in danger or when other characters are in danger you can read with a sense of ease because you know things will turn out okay because he survives and you know also that Second Prize Wang survives also because the narrator mentions speaking to him much later in life I'm actually very surprised how low the other ratings are on here for this book It seems others couldn't get used to the narrator's 'detached' style but I wouldn't call it detached at all It seems very obvious that Love Liu is very connected to his environment How he describes the graveyard and the trees and the mountains and the school he sees something in them that others do not see it's like he feels something in them that others do not experience The darkness the loneliness the fear and the exhilaration I actually wonder if the other kids in the school feel the same way as Love Liu does about the school that it is so dark and tomb like and what a remarkable school it is Perhaps Love Liu feels this way because his father designed it which causes it to feel even tomb like because it is his father who restricts him in his life at home so when he steps into the school it is like an extension of that feeling I suppose when it comes to death however Love Liu does have a very detached view concerning it But perhaps it has to do with how prevalent death is in that community After all the people of Urumi have no cinema to go to on a Saturday Instead they go to see public executions so of course Love Liu would have a very different way of talking about death as you and I mightAnyway I do strongly recommend reading English if you have the chance It might not knock your socks off but at the very least you'll learn something And I want to say that you'll learn something about a people who are very different from you and I but the people of Urumi really aren't that different When you boil these people down to their bare bones you can find them in every culture There are the people who love power and aren't afraid to use power but are afraid to lose it The Principal and Director Fan There are the people who want power but are afraid of the people who have it and are also afraid of losing what power they do have Love Liu's parents There are the people who don't want power but they just want to be themselves and be happy but since they don't want to use everything in their power they are easily stepped on First Prize Wang And finally it's about people who have no power and aren't seeking power but also aren't afraid of the people who have it Love Liu and Ahjitai Looking at it this way I feel like you get a good sense of who these people are and why they do the things they do Like I said it's a very multi faceted story with so much involved even though it is a very simple story of a young 12 year old boy

  6. Jim B Jim B says:

    Sometimes you read a book in translation and feel that something was lost This story left me with a feeling for the time the place and the people Of course the author grew up with the same obsession for English as the student at the center of the story and he approved the translation so it must convey what he wanted to communicate Still I wonder if I were Chinese would I have better understood what he was hinting at in the complex relationship between Love Liu and his parents?The author's Afterword contributes to my appreciation of what this book is Gang tells about the cruel times he experienced as a child when people were violent and enjoyed seeing violence He explains about the book I chose not to overstate the cruelty of the era because it has already been recounted ad nauseum In other words this could have been the Chinese euivalent of a holocaust novel filled with Nazi cruelty Instead he has given us a story in which all the characters are completely human and flawed in the range of ways we see among us Because the story is told by a boy we have an undependable narrator who doesn't always comprehend what he sees while he is young For example near the end of the book the student discovers that his teacher is a Christian from a Christian family The boy doesn't probe this revelation and readers are left to wonder how this integrates into the life we have witnessedBecause this novel is also a coming of age story a boy's sexual fantasies freuent the pages of this book

  7. Diane Diane says:

    This book is set in the Xinjiang region of China around the time of the Cultural Revolution The book focuses on the relationship between a young male student and his English teacher The English teacher carries himself like a gentleman and the student admires and respects his teacher and tries to become a gentleman as well Of course this is difficult during that time period when anything seen as bourgeois is criticized I read this book slowly because I'd read it at bus stops and during meals but it was an engaging read While the focus is not on the atrocities of the Cultural Revolution the author addresses this topic in the afterword the influence of Mao's reforms is evident as situations unfold Memorable uotationThe student's father had tried to take his English dictionary away from him He tore a few pages out but was unable to loosen the kid's grip and grab the dictionary away from himFather glared at me without saying a word I could hear him puffing like an executioner exhausted after finishing his job Eventually he caught his breath When he saw how upset I was a hint of regret flashed in his eyes but then he held his head up and marched out of my room Mother followed him Since that moment I realized that no one can hurt you than your family And it's always done in the name of love 266

  8. John Armstrong John Armstrong says:

    Compelling read pushed me out of my Western comfort zone

  9. Eden Thompson Eden Thompson says:

    From my book blog wwwJetBlackDragonflyblogspotcomEnglish by Wang Gang is one of those novels I stumble across not knowing why it attracts me Aside from Gao XingJian the wonderful Soul Mountain and my favourite Ha Jin A Free Life and Waiting Chinese novelists don't attract me like Japanese novelists do I find their history and the dark days of the cultural revolution hard to openEnglish however is a great book and I am glad to have read it It's the first of novel of Wang Gang to be translated into english The blurb on the back tells of the pure friendship between a teenager and his english teacher and his yearning for the teachers dictionary though it is a world than thatThe central character Love Liu ages from 12 to 18 and he lives in Urumchi an industrial town in northern China near the Russian border Subtly the actions of his family teachers and friends reflect that the cultural revolution has stunted their individuality They are on the brink of starvation and looking over their shoulder in fear Even his mother's light singing can be seen as a rebellious act A student sees a counterrevolutionary slogan written on a wall Down with Chairman Mao When this is reported to the principal he asks what it says and without thinking the class assistant repeats it aloud words which would put you in front of a firing suadLove Liu's life revolves around school and his friends Garbage Li and Sunrise Huang Into his class a new english teacher Second Prize Wang arrives and a favoured teacher Ahjitai departs Second Prize Wang brings an english dictionary is a refined gentleman and even wears cologne He is from Shanghai With Love's parents both architects involved in their work Second Prize becomes a friend and mentor through the uestions of the teenage years Sunrise and Love vie for his attention and the dictionary Sunrise becomes enamoured with Second Prize and Love's affections go to his past teacher AhjitaiThe core of the novel may be the relationship between Second Prize Wang and Love Lui but there is a whirlpool of adultery struggle politics and love within his small community We see the cultural revolution the death of Mao and the impact this has on everyone through Love Liu's eyes; the eyes of one deciding what is right what is honour and what is loveEnglish has it's roots in historical truth and is based on the life of the author More heartbreaking than the events his characters went through in the novel is his afterward In 2004 just calling it a novel about the cultural revolution was difficult; they called it a book about growing up His two page epilogue which recounts incidents from his youth are devastating and I'm thankful to have read about his experiences through the softer eyes of one who doesn't uite know who observes and tries to learn

  10. Angela Angela says:

    I wanted to love this book The author is an amazing writer or so I assume—the English translation of this novel is wonderful He did a great job giving depth to both the characters and the physical and political landscape The narrator Love Liu is entertaining and complex He's a middleschooler who is somewhat naive yet is one of the few people to uestion the status uo during China's Cultural RevolutionI found myself losing interest by the last third of the book It feels unfair to say that there was no plot since a lot of things happen throughout the novel criminal activity affairs family drama corruption and unreuited love It started to feel kind of like a soap opera where there's a lull until the next big scandal appears yet nothing actually changes and you're just reading of the same

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