Li Cunxin On My Reading Horizon 2012
My plan to keep this blog updated, disappeared into good intention land during the last few weeks.
I’ve discovered that travelling for business isn’t good for my creativity. At the end of a long day of meetings, all I want to do is eat, watch some TV and then collapse into bed with a good book. I did manage to read a lot while I was away but sadly none of the books on my Booker ‘to read’ list.
Instead I read a superb book by Li Cunxin called ‘Mao’s Last Dancer’.
Cunxin was eleven years old when he was selected to train as a dancer in a campaign by Madam Mao to improve the status of ballet in China. He moved from the small village in China where he lived on the breadline with his family to begin years of arduous and painful training in Beijing. His autobiography traces his progress which eventually takes him to Houston where everything he has been told about the abject poverty of the West is proved to be a lie. And then he defects…… It’s not a particularly well written book but the story had me gripped.
On my flight home from yet another trip to northern Michigan, I read Susan Hill’s ‘Woman in Black’ . The plot was good though I was already familiar with it because I saw the brilliant stage version a few years ago. What spoiled my experience however was Hill’s narrative style. I hate prose which is stuffed with adjectives so though I did get to the end of this short book, it was a struggle.
Now I’m home I have no excuse to get back on track with my Booker Project and start reading ‘Something to Answer For’ by P H Newby which arrived while I was away…