Monday, October 13, 2008

Pig Butcher Chen

The Butcher's Wife The Butcher's Wife by Li Ang

My review

rating: 4 of 5 stars
Lin Shi's mother was all dressed in red. Her legs were bound with several coils of a long, thick rope. Stretching her arms out toward her daughter, she said over and over: "Ah-shi, I'm hungry, I'm hungry, I'm hungry...go beg some food for me, I'm hungry, I'm hungry."

Lin Shi discovered that she couldn't move a muscle, but she didn't know why. Momentary confusion followed. Unable to wait any longer, Lin Shi's mother plunger her hands into her own abdomen, fished out a mass of bloody entrails, and hungrily shoved them into her mouth, giggling as she said: "I've got nothing to eat, just this sweet-potato mash."

--excerpt from The Butcher's Wife

This is one of my wife's women's studies books that I just happened upon and found readable. Based on a true story, it's deeply sad but also oddly neutral. This book, maybe because it is Chinese, seems quite distant from the other women's studies type books I've started, most of which I could not make it through. I have to wonder about what's lost in translation, perhaps quite a bit. Even though the man is of course an evil fucker, the author manages to practically force the reader to empathize with him. One aquires an acute sense of being trapped in relationships: marriage, family, societal, and the world of pain & sickness to which those feelings lead. Tom Waits sings about in that song where "Frank hung his wild years on a nail that he drove through his wife's forehead...bought himself a couple of Mickey Bigmouths, then he parked across the street, watching the thing burn all Christmas orange, and laughing; turned on the top 40 station", or something like that, folks losing their minds because of persistent belief in limits & measures in a limitless & measureless universe. It's the goddess forsaken dark ages in homes around the world, unfortunately.

Trapped as you agree to, trapped as you want to be, is how I figure it. Do whatchalike Kid.

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