To Live


To Live (simplified Chinese: 活着; traditional Chinese: 活著; pinyin: Huózhe) is a 1993 novel by Chinese novelist Yu Hua. It describes the struggles endured by the son of a wealthy land-owner, Fugui, while historical events caused and extended by the Chinese Revolution are fundamentally altering the nature of Chinese society. The contrast between his pre-revolutionary status as a selfish fool who (literally) travels on the shoulders of the downtrodden and his post-revolutionary status as a persecuted peasant are stark. To Live is one of the most representative work by Yu Hua. The story begins with the narrator traveling through the countryside to collect folk songs and local legends and starting to hear an old peasant talking about his experiences, which encompass many significant historical events in China including the Great Leap Forward, Three-anti and Five-anti Campaigns and Cultural Revolution. Over the course of the story, the main character, Xu Fugui, witnesses the death of his family members and loved ones.The book was originally published in the Shanghai literary journal Harvest. A film rendition, directed by Zhang Yimou, was released in 1994. Yu Hua wrote in his introduction that the novel was inspired by the American folk song "Old Black Joe".
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original title: 活着
date of publication: 1993
genre: novel
narrative location: People's Republic of China

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