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The Invisibility Cloak (New York Review…
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The Invisibility Cloak (New York Review Books Classics) (2012 original; edició 2016)

de Fei Ge (Autor)

MembresRessenyesPopularitatValoració mitjanaMencions
1645129,558 (3.83)4
"The hero of The Invisibility Cloak lives in contemporary Beijing--where everyone is doing their best to hustle up the ladder of success while shouldering an ever-growing burden of consumer goods--and he's a loser. Well into his forties, he's divorced (and still doting on his ex), childless, and living with his sister (her husband wants him out) in an apartment at the edge of town with a crack in the wall the wind from the north blows through while he gets by, just, by making customized old-fashioned amplifiers for the occasional rich audio-obsessive. He has contempt for his clients and contempt for himself. The only things he really likes are Beethoven and vintage speakers. Then an old friend tips him off about a special job--a little risky but just don't ask too many questions--and can it really be that this hopeless loser wins? This provocative and seriously funny exercise in the social fantastic by the brilliantly original Ge Fei, one of China's finest living writers, is among the most original works of fiction to come out of China in recent years. It is sure to appeal to readers of Haruki Murakami and other fabulists of contemporary irreality"--… (més)
Membre:soniafrancis
Títol:The Invisibility Cloak (New York Review Books Classics)
Autors:Fei Ge (Autor)
Informació:NYRB Classics (2016), 144 pages
Col·leccions:La teva biblioteca
Valoració:
Etiquetes:No n'hi ha cap

Detalls de l'obra

The Invisibility Cloak de Ge Fei (2012)

No n'hi ha cap
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» Mira també 4 mencions

Es mostren totes 5
An easy little slice-of-life novel, with an understated style and a straightforward plot. Cui is a nerdy audiophile engineer who lives at his sister's house in Beijing while he deals with the emotional fallout from his divorce, trying to make a big enough sale to get out of her house while dodging her attempts to set him up with new girls. The desire of someone who feels trapped to escape by making one last big score is perfectly relatable, but if I could sum it up in a phrase, the novel is really about how tenuous your sense of place in the world can be; your relationships, your personal history, your job, where you live, everything. You thought you had a solid marriage and then surprise!; you thought you had a stable living environment and then your sister says take a hike; you thought you could count on your friend until friendship becomes a one-way street; you thought that you were a part of a certain kind of society but then "all that is solid melts into air", in the famous phrase.

To that end, there are constant reminders of how social mores shifted from Communist solidarity to capitalist individualism in the post-Xiaoping era, along the lines of "we used to be poor, but at least we were all poor together!", so this is one of those novels where a book jacket-type description like "explores the changes that wealth has brought to Chinese society" is perfectly appropriate. A Westerner might satirize this view as "under Communism you were guaranteed nothing, but at least you were guaranteed!", but many Chinese really do have nostalgia for those days, as weird as that might seem. Part of that might be due to the intellectual class that Fei spends some time skewering. There's plenty of intellectuals droning on about the proper evaluation of historical figures like the Dowager Empress; Fei obviously doesn't trust their abilities to lead the country, although it's not clear what he does trust. This is also a fun read from an audiophile perspective: poor Cui puts all this work into building top-of-the-line audio rigs for rich idiots who only listen to garbage instead of the pieces he likes, and I recommend listening to all the music mentioned in the book. Even if you don't think that a traditional Chinese opera titled "The Red Detachment of Women" is up your alley (and it is not always an easy listen), often Fei/Cui's selections are excellent. ( )
  aaronarnold | May 11, 2021 |
Ignore the lazy comparison to Haruki Murakami on the back cover of the book. This is better than anything Murakami wrote and it took 800 fewer pages to get there. ( )
1 vota bgramman | May 9, 2020 |
This was one of my favorite modern Chinese novels. Instead of dealing with the horrors of war and destruction of families and bureaucracies, as in Mo Yan and Yan Lianke's works, this was a breath of fresh air. It read much more like Japanese fiction in its depiction of an everyday narrator, tasked with his very specific struggles. It was well-polished and informative, as regards the high-end audio business. The author's style possessed the charm of Murakami's early works without as many pop references.

This is a short, absorbing tale that could be enjoyed by just about anybody, and a nice departure from the bleak style of a lot of the Chinese translations we are getting recently. There are many clever observations on contemporary frustrations, and it left a bittersweet, lingering aura of unfulfilled dreams in my mind. The blurbs make the work seem far more surreal and magical than it actually is. There are easy comparisons to Murakami, but Ge Fei has his own voice. His only other title in English is a minuscule novella called "Flock of Brown Birds." I have also found scattered stories in scattered anthologies. They are all good, solid pieces of writing, partaking equally in the realms of pulp and literary fiction.

I believe this author has wide appeal and would be able to capture a large number of readers in America and elsewhere if he were only given the chance. They call him one of the most important writers working in China, but because of his lack of political agendas, hack writers like Yan Lianke get egregious amounts of attention, while his charming gems go unnoticed. Besides Can Xue, he is my favorite living Chinese author. ( )
  LSPopovich | Apr 8, 2020 |
A long short story; curious, engaging and a bit sad ( )
  77nanci | Sep 29, 2018 |
This was indeed slightly surreal. A Beijing audiophile limps from commission to commision, navigating poverty as he builds high-end, high-quality sound systems for various wealthy amateurs. His wife has divorced him after her infidelities, his sister is ejecting him from her spare flat, his only friend is increasingly remote, and his work assignments are unavoidably drying up. And then a final, all-in job presents itself, for a shadowy, instinctively unpleasant client.

The surreal tone of the novel is due to characters’ unexplained motivations, inscrutable inner worlds that have become inaccessible due to social distancing and a distinct dispreference for really getting to know their fellow human beings. There’s no magical realism, just alienation, but that is surreal enough.

This may sound weird (and potentially off-putting), but The invisibility cloak felt to me as a successful version of Tommy Wiseau’s The room -- if that film had been competent, insightful, professional and emotionally intelligent. As in The room, the main character is a forty-something semi-recluse who is betrayed by his wife, his family and his friends while he does not understand why. But whereas Wiseau’s version is just some emotionally stunted weirdo’s transparently self-aggrandizing martyrdom whose preferred method of audience interaction is cheap melodrama, Fei’s short novel is thoughtful, full of empathy, well done, doesn’t overstay its welcome, and knows exactly how far it can push its premise. There’s a lovely idea at the centre of the book, namely that using alienation itself as a good-enough counter to alienation, and it ties the whole thing together beautifully. ( )
1 vota Petroglyph | Jan 8, 2018 |
Es mostren totes 5
The plot may be slight, but the author packs in wit, social commentary, and an emotional depth that will lift the reader's spirits like few recent books.
 

» Afegeix-hi altres autors (2 possibles)

Nom de l'autorCàrrecTipus d'autorObra?Estat
Ge Feiautor primaritotes les edicionscalculat
Morse, CanaanTraductorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat

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No n'hi ha cap

"The hero of The Invisibility Cloak lives in contemporary Beijing--where everyone is doing their best to hustle up the ladder of success while shouldering an ever-growing burden of consumer goods--and he's a loser. Well into his forties, he's divorced (and still doting on his ex), childless, and living with his sister (her husband wants him out) in an apartment at the edge of town with a crack in the wall the wind from the north blows through while he gets by, just, by making customized old-fashioned amplifiers for the occasional rich audio-obsessive. He has contempt for his clients and contempt for himself. The only things he really likes are Beethoven and vintage speakers. Then an old friend tips him off about a special job--a little risky but just don't ask too many questions--and can it really be that this hopeless loser wins? This provocative and seriously funny exercise in the social fantastic by the brilliantly original Ge Fei, one of China's finest living writers, is among the most original works of fiction to come out of China in recent years. It is sure to appeal to readers of Haruki Murakami and other fabulists of contemporary irreality"--

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