BookBrowse Reviews Wolf Totem by Rong Jiang

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Wolf Totem

By Rong Jiang

Wolf Totem
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     Not Yet Rated
  • Hardcover: Mar 2008,
    544 pages.
    Paperback: Mar 2009,
    544 pages.

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Book Reviewed by:
Donna Chavez

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Novel. An epic Chinese tale that depicts the dying culture of the Mongols and the parallel extinction of the animal they believe to be sacred

There is so much to glean from Jiang Rong's sprawling semi-autobiographical novel that it's tempting to suggest a second read, if not the whole book, at least parts of it. Ostensibly it is about a young Beijing student, Chen Zhen, who is sent to China's Inner Mongolia by the People's Revolution in the 1960s to live among the nomads and herd sheep. He lives with a handful of other students in a typical Mongol yurt (a collapsible circular tent made of animal skins), tends sheep, makes friends with a couple of his peers among the Mongols and cultivates a mentor-type connection with a Mongol elder named Bilgee. Chen even adopts a wolf cub, Little Cub, to raise as his own, hoping the proximity will help him understand the complicated relationship between man ...

About the Author
Jiang Rong is the pseudonym of Lu Jiamin (in Chinese, the family name comes first). To protect himself from what he describes as "the least liberal country in the world", he wrote Wolf Totem under a pen-name and carefully hid his real identity. It was not until he won the Man Asia prize in 2007, three years after the book was first published, that anyone outside a small circle of friends knew what Jiang looked like. Before the Man Booker prize he had given interviews but never allowed his photograph to be taken. Some critics have dismissed this as a marketing gimmick but for Jiang it was a matter of survival. Speaking after the Man Asia prize was announced he says ..... continued at BookBrowse.

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