30. Bridge of Birds: Barry Hughart

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30. Bridge of Birds: Barry Hughart

Post  Patguy on Sat Dec 19, 2009 1:00 am

One of my new favorite novels. This is a fantasy set in a mythical seventh-century China, starring the great double act of Master Li, a sage with a slight flaw in his character, and the strong, kind, but slightly slow Number Ten Ox, who is also our narrator. The interesting thing about the book is that it slips gradually from one type of story into several others, almost before we notice. What starts as a good natured shaggy-dog quest narrative, with out heroes traveling from place to place and having mildly entertaining adventures, gradually reveals deeper dimensions and a literal mystery; by the time Master Li is wondering aloud about the significance of what’s gone before, we’re now in full-on Holmes and Watson territory, and what we thought were just random occurrences turn out to be clues. The solution to the mystery and the conclusion of the quest fuse together at the end in a half-dozen pages of overwhelming lyrical beauty, made all the more powerful by the uncovered significance of everything we’ve seen so far. This was so unexpected, so beautifully accomplished, that finishing this book gave me a rush of absolute joy such as I can’t remember ever experiencing from a novel. Stunning.

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Re: 30. Bridge of Birds: Barry Hughart

Post  jrpstonecarver on Sun Dec 20, 2009 4:16 pm

Wow. This sounds like something I'll have to try. Thanks Patguy!
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