Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Wang Shuo's "Playing for Thrills"--Did Fang Yan Murder Someone Ten Years Ago? Was There a Murder at All?

Once I figured out HOW to read the book and WHAT it was going to expect of me as a reader, I surrendered myself to it and thoroughly enjoyed it. It's one of those works of mystery that poses a question to be answered or a goal to be met, and once the main character gets there, the question/goal opens up to more questions and other goals that must be pursued. It's a crazy race of a book with fantasy, dreams, characters with multiple identities, etc. I liked it. It reminded me of Murakami's A Wild Sheep Chase but with MORE of everything including confusion and a constantly-digging-deeper narrative. Unlike Oedipus, who learns to his grief that he IS the murderer whom he seeks, Fang Yan is told at the outset that he is a murderer and he feels he must accept this, since he can't remember what happened. To save himself, he must find out who was murdered and why he does not remember doing it. If you enjoy the paranoid, surreal journeys of Murakami or Pynchon, this is a book for you.

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