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Go Ask the River Paperback – 15 Dec 2011


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'A many-splendored trip through a rainbow world.' --- Publishers Weekly

'The stylized sensuality of the world that Miss Eaton writes about is so clearly defined by the cool simplicity of her language that as we read this tale of ninth-century China we see that it all happened just as she tells it, and her characters are as real to us as though we read about them in the newspapers every day.' --- The New Yorker

'Throughout runs the Taoist Philosophy - the Eight Signs of the Golden Flower, the meaning of Tao, the place of women in Oriental society. Hung Tu emerges as a vibrant figure, radiating a sense of beauty, balance, and well-being.' --Montreal Star

About the Author

Evelyn Eaton (1902-1983) was born in Montreux, Switzerland to Anglophile Canadian parents, and educated in England and France. She began writing while still in her teens; her first collection of poems was published in England in 1923 (the same year that she was presented at court) and her first novel in 1925. Her adult life was rich and varied: she became an American citizen at the age of 42, and was a war correspondent in China, Burma and India in 1945, then a lecturer at Columbia University from 1949 to 1951. Partly Native American (related to the Algonquins of Novia Scotia) her later years became increasingly focused on Native American culture and mysticism. She wrote thirteen novels, five volumes of poetry, two collections of short stories, and seven other books. For many years she was a contributor to The New Yorker and other journals. Go Ask the River was her last novel.

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Amazon.com: 2 reviews
rare insight into Tang Dynasty woman poet 18 Feb. 2015
By Fleur - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
The title of Go ask the river comes from a poem ‘I am a thought of you’ by Tang Dynasty poet Li T’ai Po. After visiting the grave site of Xue Tao in Chengdu, the author was inspired by her story. Xue Tao, also known as Hung Tu (Hong Du), lived circa 760-780 AD. The novel is a fictionalised narrative of the genius woman poet, calligrapher, scholar, who lived an adventurous life as a courtesan in Chengdu’s Blue House on the Silk (Brocade) River. She was given the title of ‘official hostess and collector of books’ by the governor of the time. She was frequently summoned to entertain guests at his mansion. She was highly respected and sought after and had several liaisons with high officials and poets. She lived with several ‘flowers in the mist’ (courtesans). Silver Hook, Harmonising Reed, Splendour of Spring, Lady Mountain Stream, Clear Dawn, Tall Bamboo are some of the names of the courtesans.

The story is written in a lyrical dream-like style and evokes the terrible reality of the times, but softened with high-minded artistic and poetic stylisation. My only frustration with this novel is the naming of the courtesans. Better to give the Chinese name to be more realistic, and provide a glossary of who’s who including Chinese names and their meanings.
An historical coup! 30 Jun. 2014
By Jeannie L. Stuckey - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I felt as though this book was being channeled from the main character herself. And there is the intimation by the author that this is the way she felt. As such, it is a remarkable piece of historical writing, though it has to be called fiction. A part of history that I have not known much about, but early on I was fascinated with Pearl Buck's books, and other writing about China. Here we go back to China's history of the Tang Dynasty and learn history as it was purportedly lived by one who became important in a lower court of the day. Well done!
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