Buying a Fishing Rod for my Grandfather and over 2 million other books are available for Amazon Kindle . Learn more

Have one to sell? Sell yours here
Sorry, this item is not available in
Image not available for
Colour:
Image not available

 
Start reading Buying a Fishing Rod for my Grandfather on your Kindle in under a minute.

Don't have a Kindle? Get your Kindle here, or download a FREE Kindle Reading App.

Buying a Fishing Rod for my Grandfather [Hardcover]

Gao Xingjian
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

Available from these sellers.



Book Description

19 April 2004

From China's first-ever winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature comes an exquisite new book of fictions, none of which has ever been published before in English.

A young couple on honeymoon visit a beautiful temple up in the mountains, and spend the day intoxicated by the tranquillity of the setting; a swimmer is paralysed by a sudden cramp and finds himself stranded far out to sea on a cold autumn day; a man reminisces about his beloved grandfather, who used to make his own fishing rods from lengths of crooked bamboo straightened over a fire…

Blending the crisp immediacy of the present moment with the soft afterglow of memory and nostalgia, these stories hum with simplicity and wisdom – and will delight anyone who loved Gao's bestselling novels, Soul Mountain and One Man's Bible.


Customers Who Viewed This Item Also Viewed


Product details

  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Flamingo; 1st Ed. (U.K.) edition (19 April 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007170386
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007170388
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 13.2 x 2.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,434,831 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, and more.

Product Description

Review

Praise for Gao Xingjian:

'When he writes of his experiences in the real world, Gao transcends cultural barriers. A good story will out in any language, and when Gao is good he is staggeringly so.' Daily Telegraph

'Brilliant and poetic, keen and original… Gao's ambition is to transcend the specifics of time and place, to write a meditation on literature itself and its ability to reveal the raging, brutal, brilliant beast that is mankind itself… [His work] burns with a powerfully individualistic fire of intelligence and depth of feeling… Unforgettable.' New York Times

About the Author

Gao Xingjian was born in 1940 in Jiangxi province in eastern China, and has lived in France since 1987. Gao is considered an artistic innovator in his native China, both in the visual arts and in literature. He is that rare multi-talented artist who excels as a novelist, playwright, essayist, director and painter. Two novels, the internationally best-selling Soul Mountain and One Man's Bible, are available in English from Flamingo, as well as a volume of his art entitled Return to Painting.


Inside This Book (Learn More)
Browse and search another edition of this book.
First Sentence
We were deliriously happy: delirious with the hope, infatuation, tenderness, and warmth that go with a honeymoon. Read the first page
Explore More
Concordance
Browse Sample Pages
Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
Search inside this book:

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?


Customer Reviews

3.0 out of 5 stars
3.0 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Terse and Mysterious 15 Aug 2011
Format:Paperback
This book of short stories is not for you if you are looking for a racy plot or for that matter any real plot at all.

While very little happens I was caught up by the wonderfully precise prose where things are described in unexpected ways and all things are confusing. I was often baffled by what I was reading and puzzled as to its meaning but it was a delightful not frustrating experience. Xingjian depicts the mundane as if it was magical and mysterious and so forces you to consider everything.

The story "In an instant" still confuses me after a good deal of thought and several readings but it is captivating with its colour and sound, the title work is hauntingly sad but strangely warm and "in the park" is a suspense filled masterpiece of what is not said.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Wistful long prose poems 17 Jan 2006
Format:Paperback
Gao Xinjian’s book is a wistful collection of writing. It is not so much a collection of short stories as a series of long prose poems. Each essay has no narrative structure, with beginning, middle and end. Instead the author describes scenes from ordinary lives, mundane but perhaps important moments for the characters involved. There are a honeymooning couple visiting a deserted temple, a day in the park, a swimmer with cramp, among other vignettes. In each case, the characters are glimpsed interacting with little apparent rhyme or reason as to why the story has chosen to access them at that particular moment of their day over any others. Their dialogue is often mundane and banal. The reader is consequently not being invited into a story, but rather simply to act as a voyeur into unremarkable moments in other people’s lives.
Although Gao is a beautiful writer, I have to admit that I just couldn’t get stuck in to this collection. The style doesn’t lend itself to involved reading, and my attention wandered easily. Though I often enjoy stories with no real narrative, they usually have some obvious theme or purpose. I struggled to see one in much Gao’s book. Nevertheless, he is obviously a skilled writer, and I would like to read more of his work, but, beyond the wistfulness of the style, I couldn’t find anything here to hold my attention. They were good as stand-alone prose poems, but it wasn’t the Nobel prize-winning stuff I had hoped for.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Crisp short stories 11 May 2004
By HORAK
Format:Hardcover
Gao Xingjian uses small events occurring in daily life such as the visit of a decaying temple by a young couple, a road accident involving a father and a his young child, a swimmer suffering from a sudden pain or conversation in a park to deal with topics which he cherishes: the lost innocence of youth, the quest for an environment ruined by modern architecture or the nostalgia for a lost tenderness that only a father or grandfather could provide. Often there is no plot in those short stories, but a simple succession of images, impressions, dreams and thoughts. An author well worth discovering.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Incomprehensible 4 Jan 2009
Format:Paperback
These stories read like dream sequences with no logical structure. Two of the stories were completely incomprehensible whilst the others were, where I understood them, boring.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.1 out of 5 stars  13 reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Six Prose Paintings 6 Jun 2004
By Steve Koss - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Reading the six short stories in Gao Xing Jian's BUYING A FISHING ROD FOR MY GRANDFATHER is like wandering into a small gallery containing six Impressionist paintings. Each story paints a quiet verbal picture of loss and gain, of change, of solitary existence and the consolations of love and family. Gao's works seem nearly plotless, vignettes which create scenes and atmosphere more than story lines. Then again, life consists of such brief moments and experiences; stories are the fictions we create to connect and give personal meaning to these separate moments.
Gao's technique varies from story to story. His opening work, "The Temple," describes the spontaneous actions of a honeymooning couple as they disembark from a train to explore a decaying hillside temple. The story, written in standard prose form, speaks achingly of history and loss, of life moving forward in spite of past tragedies. The second story, "In the Park," switches almost completely to dialog between two nameless acquaintances who meet by coincidence in a park and reclaim their childhood memories as another young woman sits crying on a nearby park bench.
The third story, "The Cramp," gives a harrowing account of a casual swimmer who nearly dies alone within sight of the shore, only to discover when he makes it ashore that no one has noticed. The next story, "The Accident," tells nearly the same story in a moment by moment account of a fatal traffic accident on a Beijing street. The police arrive and take care of the situation, street cleaners come to remove the broken bicycle and wipe the blood from the streets, and life continues on anonymously, as if the death never occurred.
The title story follows, offering a powerful account of a neighborhood no longer recognizable to its main character who had lived there as a boy. The story conveys a sense of loss and disorienting change, of a simple way of life no longer to be found.
The stories in this collection were written between 1983 and 1990, about the same time Gao was completing his novel SOUL MOUNTAIN. The writing is simple and direct, yet it creates memorable images and a strong sense of atmosphere. Despite being written by China's first Nobelist in Literature, these are not stories about China or Chinese culture. Several of these stories offer no sense of place or culture - they could be taking place anywhere in the world. Perhaps this is a reflection of Gao's status as an expatriate in Paris.
For those who enjoy modern Chinese and Chinese-American literature by the likes of Mo Yan, Su Tong, Ha Jin, and Liu Heng, Gao Xing Jian's BUYING A FISHING ROD FOR MY GRANDFATHER stands out for its daring style and its sublimation of Chinese culture to more universal settings and themes. In that respect, Gao is stylistically closer to Japanese writers like Kenzaburo Oe and Haruki Murakami than any Chinese writer I have yet encountered. Anyone who reads this book will likely be motivated to pick up a copy of SOUL MOUNTAIN or ONE MAN'S BIBLE.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Magical writing 5 April 2004
By Edward McLean - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
A book for those who know China, and those who still have that pleasure to come. "The Accident" takes us onto a pulsing but anonymous Beijing street for one small moment of death and life. Gao puts us in the crowd of curious onlookers, and then magically into their minds and lives. "The Temple" takes us by the hand through rural small town China as a young married couple enjoy their one week of honeymoon. Gao writes sparingly but with a precise and human touch, much as China's landscape painters misted their scenes onto canvas. Serene and raucous, immense and private, like China itself Gao's writing gives great, simple pleasure. After these Chekhov-like short stories, you will immediately want his Nobel winning novel "Soul Mountain", if you haven't yet encountered that great work.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Emotional Kaleidoscope 10 Jun 2005
By J. Vilches - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This book contains six beautifully crafted short stories built on ordinary events. Crafted more to evoke emotions than tell a tale, these stories range in style from sparse dialogue to rich description of detail.

The dream-like imagery in the last two stories, "Buying a Fishing Rod for My Grandfather" and "In an Instant", carries you along in a hypnotic stream. "The Temple" starts as a charming journey into the country with newlyweds and slowly turns melancholy. "In the Park" takes place almost entirely in dialogue that is surprisingly effective at conveying nervous regret. "The Cramp" skillfully turns danger into triumph into insignificance. "The Accident" is a masterful demonstration of how a tragic death is a mosaic of different events based on point-of-view.

The stories are different in style, but the same themes can be seen running through each: memory, change, loss, and family. These short stories are not going to be everyone's cup of tea - if you need a plot, this isn't for you. But if you appreciate beautiful use of language to paint a picture, you'll probably savor this small collection. The translation seems very unobtrusive - you never get jarring feelings of disconnect from the language.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I Don't Think I'm the Target Audience 25 Sep 2011
By AgnesMack - Published on Amazon.com
I'm not usually a fan of short stories and this collection of translated stories by the Nobel Prize winning author Gao Xingjian reminded me of why that is.

The thing is, I just don't get drawn into short story collections. As soon as I start to get interested, it ends and I'm left trying to get to know a whole new set of characters or to care about an entirely new set of circumstances.

Those issues in this book were only exacerbated, for one main reason.

These stories, by design, are not plot driven in the slightest. In fact, an afterword contains the following information :

"Gao warns readers that his fiction does not set out to tell a story. There is no plot, as found in most fiction, and anything of interest to be found in it is inherent in the language itself."

As a reader who is more interested in the way a story is told than the actual story, this isn't necessarily a problem.

But. It was translated! If the whole point of the work is the use of language, and I can't see that language in the way the author intended, what's the point? I simply don't understand why you'd translate a work that was completely about the writing and not the plot.

That said, a few of the stories were interesting. In the Park in particular struck me. It was the story of a couple spending a lazy day together. Nothing exciting happened, there was no passion, no twists. But it sort of gave you a glimpse into these people's lives in a way that felt very intimate and beautiful.

Overall though, I can't say that I'd recommend it, considering that I'm not really reading Xingjian's work, but that of his translator.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Crisp short stories 11 May 2004
By HORAK - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Gao Xingjian uses small events occurring in daily life such as the visit of a decaying temple by a young couple, a road accident involving a father and a his young child, a swimmer suffering from a sudden pain or conversation in a park to deal with topics which he cherishes: the lost innocence of youth, the quest for an environment ruined by modern architecture or the nostalgia for a lost tenderness that only a father or grandfather could provide. Often there is no plot in those short stories, but a simple succession of images, impressions, dreams and thoughts. An author well worth discovering.
Were these reviews helpful?   Let us know
Search Customer Reviews
Only search this product's reviews

Customer Discussions

This product's forum
Discussion Replies Latest Post
No discussions yet

Ask questions, Share opinions, Gain insight
Start a new discussion
Topic:
First post:
Prompts for sign-in
 

Search Customer Discussions
Search all Amazon discussions
   


Look for similar items by category


Feedback