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ISBN:0887274129
Author: Wang Shuo
ISBN13: 978-0887274121
Title: Please Don't Call Me Human
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ePUB size: 1628 kb
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Language: English
Category: Humanities
Publisher: Cheng & Tsui Co (January 26, 2003)
Pages: 304

Please Don't Call Me Human by Wang Shuo



The book was not a smooth read, very turbulent. I think Wang Shuo's style may have been lost in translation. The plot, what there is of it, involves a private group calling themselves the Mobilization While I really liked Wang Chao's Playing for Thrills, I found Please Don't Call me Human mostly dull and difficult to get through. This may be just a case of it not really being intended for me. Human has a strong satirical element, especially as concerns China's loss of the 2000 Olympics, and I suspect if I had a deeper appreciation of Chinese culture and history, more of the humor would have rung true.

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Wang Shuo is China's most popular author, in the teeth of great government disapproval. The powers that be call him a "spiritual pollutant", yet his 20 novels have sold around 10 million copies. Even allowing for China's population, that's quite a hefty total. The result is a harum-scarum tearing-down of everything you feel the Chinese hold sacred, as Wang Shuo plays off the varying kinds of vacuous rhetoric with which the nation has been browbeaten for generations. I seem to recall lining up like this once before, a long time ago," says someone forced to celebrate publicly when a hero is found, "waving little flags and mumbling things to someone passing b.

Wang Shuo's novel, Please Don't Call Me Human, is a simplistic satire of modern China. The honour of the nation is at stake after a Caucasian "strongman with the Alvin Keller circus" (described as "a tub of lard" weighing four- or five-hundred pounds) summarily defeats a legion of "yellow opponents" in the ring. Wang Shuo's broad satire zips along at a fast pace. Much of the book is in dialogue form, and there is a great deal of often entertaining action. It is, however, a brutally simplistic and rough satire. There is no delicate touch at work here; this is cartoon fiction. Given the Chinese situation and outsiders' relative ignorance of conditions there such an over-the-top approach may be what foreign readers are most receptive to. Wang Shuo does provide a fair amount of insight into modern Chinese life, and there is entertainment value to it as well.

by Wang, Shuo, 1958-; Goldblatt, Howard, 1939-. Publication date 2000. Topics Wang, Shuo, 1958-. Publisher New York : Hyperion. Collection inlibrary; printdisabled; ; china. Digitizing sponsor Internet Archive. Contributor Internet Archive. Books for People with Print Disabilities. Internet Archive Books.

Don't Call Me Human is a shockingly fun read filled with off-color humor and disgusting detail. The plot revolves around a shady Beijing organization called MobCom, which is desperate to vindicate China's humiliating loss at the hands of an oafish American wrestler.

I think Wang Shuo's style may have been lost in translation. There were some brilliant sections scattered throughout the book, some hilarious moments, but you had to kind of slog your way through to find them. In Please Dont Call Me Human, he imagines an Olympics where nations compete not on the basis of athletic prowess, but on their citizens capacity for humiliationand China is determined to win at any cost. Banned in China for its rudeness and vulgarity, this astonishing, tripped-out novel is filled with outlandish antics that have earned Wang Shuo his own genre, hooligan literature. Library descriptions.

Now Wang Shuo, easily China's coolest and most popular novelist, applies his genius for satire and cultural irreverence to one of the world's sacred rituals, the Olympic Games. In Please Don't Call Me Human, he imagines an Olympics where nations compete not on the basis of athletic prowess, but on their citizens' capacity for humiliation-and China is determined to win at any cost.

How far is it possible to make someone go to save face? Read this and draw your own conclusion. Find similar books Profile. Yuanbao lowered his leg and glared at his kid sister, then sucked in his breath and walked down the steps.

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Now Wang Shuo, easily Chinas coolest and most popular novelist, applies his genius for satire and cultural irreverence to one of the worlds sacred rituals, the Olympic Games. In Please Dont Call Me Human, he imagines an Olympics where nations compete not on the basis of athletic prowess, but on their citizens capacity for humiliationand China is determined to win at any cost. Banned in China for its rudeness and vulgarity, this astonishing, tripped-out novel is filled with outlandish antics that have earned Wang Shuo his own genre, hooligan literature.
Reviews: 4
Steamy Ibis
This book was published in China in late 1989, several months after the Tiananmen crackdown. It wasn't translated into English until 2000.

Wang was prominent in China from the mid-1980s; in 1988-89, four of his works were filmed. A number of early stories and novels followed the lives of cynical urban youths during his nation's shift from socialism to a market economy. His early writing demonstrated an ear for language and an eye for the gap between convention and reality. This book has been called his funniest and most devastating political satire. He's been called a "spiritual pollutant" by his government.

This novel followed the adventures of a martial arts boxer who was chosen by a private-sector committee to represent China and revenge defeat by a foreign wrestler. The committee gave lip service to preserving the nation's honor, but was no less concerned with the profits they expected to make on him. They required full mobilization at all times, political correctness -- or at least the appearance of it -- and training in every possible method -- qigong, ballet and so on. Each member's self-interest was masked by appeals to the greater good.

The individual at the center -- the boxer -- was required to make ever-greater sacrifices in accordance with the committee's whimsical decisions. He did this without complaint, because unlike most other characters he lacked an agenda and was sincere. Other plots followed the boxer's aged father, a participant in the 1900 Boxer Rebellion, who the authorities wished characteristically to condemn for historical mistakes, and the fate of the boxer's neighborhood, which was fenced off and destroyed by the authorities, who auctioned off the contents to the highest bidder.

The main things I could get from this book were the author's condemnation of his society's utter lack of concern for the individual, who was at the mercy of any entity that claimed it was acting for the greater good. And the author's contempt for the hypocrisy of those who cloaked greed in appeals to the national interest. Near the book's end, authorities were asked, "What will you do if the Communist Party ever returns to power?"

In its irony, ear for language, dark view of people and groups, and political manipulation of a naive hero, the book often seemed like the Chinese counterpart of A Cool Million, a 1930s novel by the American Nathanael West. Wang's conception and sarcasm were brilliant: the story's development allowed him to comment on everything from committee operations to media advertising to the position of women in society. Many of the committee's campaigns seemed to end in scenes reminiscent of the Cultural Revolution, in mass demonstrations or mass denunciations.

Especially interesting was the author's use of various types of language -- proverbs quoted by most participants at the drop of a hat, the speech of committees, the pungent words of members behind the scenes, the language that common people used with officials. The parodies of bureaucratic language as well as speech directed at officials must be some of the most provocative of the period. On the other hand, the novel's execution often seemed slapdash and cartoonish, and some scenes and details remained obscure.

Excerpts:

"Comrades, we must act prudently, just beating up some foreigner won't do it. Our ultimate purpose is to establish a national model."

"The publicity should focus on how we took a pile of s*** and a puddle of p--s and turned it into somebody. We must make this clear to the masses."

"I have strict orders from old Zhao to reach his profit quota."

"Is there anyone here who actually treats you as a human? They're all using you for their own purposes, and they'll destroy you in the process. They'll turn you into whatever their hearts desire."

"If you close your eyes, I no longer exist, I only sense my existence from your reactions. If you're happy, I feel that my life is of value."

"You have retrieved the golden goblet of national integrity . . . you have lived gloriously and will die with honor . . . Flying across the mountain pass, you raise your glass to toast the bright moon; in dreams the universe is vast, awake one's life is long . . . The little boat leaves from here, the rest of one's life is claimed by rivers and oceans. When bright mountain flowers are in full bloom, your laughter will emerge from the thicket . . ."

"Revered and wise and beloved pioneer vanguard architect beacon torch demon-revealing mirror dog-beating club father mother grandfather grandmother ancestor primal ape imperial father ancient sage Jade Emperor Guanyin Boddhisatva commander-in-chief, you have been busy with a myriad of daily matters suffering untold hardships old habits die hard overworked to the point of illness addicted to labor shouldering crushing burdens mounting the clouds and riding the mist soaring across the sky helping those in danger and relieving those in distress restoring justice banishing evil and expelling heresies curing rheumatism and cold sweats invigorating the yang nourishing the kidneys and the brain building up the liver harmonizing the stomach easing pain suppressing coughs and relieving constipation . . ."

[In a TV commercial, the newly minted hero] buries his face in a book and says with profound emotion: "Whenever I get tired of reading, my thoughts turn to the East and to Chill-Way refrigerators."

"We, all of us, have razor-sharp tongues but hearts made of tofu. If we . . . weren't forced to serve the greater good, do you really think we could turn into what we've become -- beasts in human form?"
Throw her heart
Don't Call Me Human is a shockingly fun read filled with off-color humor and disgusting detail. The plot revolves around a shady Beijing organization called MobCom, which is desperate to vindicate China's humiliating loss at the hands of an oafish American wrestler. MobCom's search for a modern-day Chinese hero who knows the secrets of the Boxers (who, among other things, mistakenly thought they were immune to the power of firearms) finds its unfortunate object in a Beijing pedicab driver named Tang Yuanbao. Written by China's most famous liumang (low-life slacker is an acceptable translation), Wang Shuo,the novel follows the miseducation and shameless promotion of Tang by MobCom, an endeavor which requires multiple press conferences ridiculously devoid of content, ballet lessons given by an octogenarian in an abandoned art gallery, an unbelievable mock-military excercise in which Tang single-handedly defeats more than one battalion, and even an eventual sex change. The rise and fall of Tang and his backers (who manage to consume 7,000 packages of instant noodles, 100 kilos of tea, and 14000 cigarettes in their first week of hardly working) is the best-told tale of slacking off and deep national/personal humiliation you're ever likely to read.
Valawye
One of the funniest books I've read in a while, "Please Don't Call Me Human" goes way beyond being a satire of Chinese nationalism--it's an hysterical condemnation of how far people will go for fame. So original, each outrageous event is a huge surprise.
Hawk Flying
I'm bullheaded and will finish most every book which I did here but came close to putting it down for good.
I guess the thing I got out of it was the Chinese thought of "saving face" no matter how unredeemable the
situation is.