Saturday, March 15, 2014

The Ten Thousand Things by John Spurling

"Writing Books Under the Pine Trees," the gorgeous landscape painting that graces the cover of this lyrical novel, is by Wang Meng, a Chinese painter during the Yuan dynasty. The story is a fictionalized account of the political upheavals in the country seen through Wang’s eyes. An eye-opening "travelogue" as intricately detailed as any landscape painting, The Ten Thousand Things beautifully weaves weighty issues such as religion, philosophy and art. John Spurling’s superb novel might be set in fourteenth-century China but the principal question it addresses -- what happens when duty and passion collide -- remains as relevant as ever.

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