Total Pageviews

Friday, 1 March 2013

A brush with China under Manchu rule

At TF we came across Peirene Press very early in our researches - they specialise in contemporary European literature, that is thought provoking, well designed and short. They have a perfect strapline from the TLS which absolutely sums up the books they produce:  "Two-hour books to be devoured in a single sitting: literary cinema for those fatigued by film". Click on the cover to see reviews and to find our more!

We feature the Sea of Ink by Richard Weihe which spans much of the 17th century in China. It follows the life of  Zhu Da, a descendant of the Ming Dynasty, who has the tremendous gift of producing beautiful pieces of artwork. His scholarship progresses, as his character morphs and adapts to the new regime of the Manchus, through Buddhism studies to feigned madness, in an attempt to can keep his integrity as an artist and continue his quest to capture the essence of nature with a single brushstroke. The book is a thought-provoking study of scholarship and persona, and is beautifully translated from the German original.

The Sea of Ink in the title refers to the highest category of scholarship that could be attained. The book has a scattering  of delicate and contemplative picture postcard vignettes of the work of Shu Da, who by the ends calls himself Bada Shanren (the name under which he is remembered and his work classified). The prose is delicate and contemplative and his artwork simple in nature and beautifully composed. A dream of a novella for those interested in art and this period of Chinese history.

Click here to see more of our featured fiction set in, and evocative of China. Please add any books set in China that you have liked and have evoked the country.

 We have a rolling selection of books that we can send to you for review. If you are interested, click on the blogpost on the right hand side bar "Review Copies for Readers" to see the books currently available for review.


No comments:

Post a Comment