Wednesday, February 10, 2016

New Giveaway, Old Book

To revive interest in The Battle of Chibi, the first book I published, I decided to do another giveaway through Goodreads. I don't remember having done so for this particular title but thought I should do it (perhaps again) now. Anyone interested should click on the following "widget" from Goodreads. The Giveaway begins in a few days on February 15.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Battle of Chibi by Hock G. Tjoa

The Battle of Chibi

by Hock G. Tjoa

Giveaway ends February 25, 2016.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

The Romance of the Three Kingdoms (三國演義is one of the four great Chinese novels. The other three are The Water Margin (shui hu zhuan/水滸傳 ), sometimes translated as All Men Are Brothers or Outlaws of the Marsh, Journey to the West (xi you ji/西 ), and Jin Ping Mei (金瓶梅)  often translated as The Plum in the Golden Vase. This last title is a translation of the given names of the three main female characters in it but in any case, this novel is often deemed too pornographic and hence substituted for by The Dream of the Red Chamber (紅樓夢). The most recent translation into English uses the title The Story of the Stone as the "frame story" to this classic is that of a sentient stone left over when the heavens and the earth were renovated.

My book, The Battle of Chibi, consists of twenty three chapters or portions of chapters (out of 120 chapters in the Romance) that I translated from the Mandarin in the long fit of boredom that afflicted me when I retired. Unwittingly, I thus embarked on the third act of my working life. The choice was not difficult to make. Although Pearl Buck thought much of The Water Margin and her translation of that work (as All Men are Brothers) is highly regarded, it is to me a tedious tale of banditry. There were 108 of those brothers or outlaws and not much that distinguished one tale from another of a good man driven into such a life by political or personal circumstances. 

Nor was I attracted to the story of the Monkey King and the rivalry between Daoism and Buddhism that makes up the fantasy world of The Journey to the West. An occasional encounter with the paranormal would enliven my reading, and I enjoyed the shenanigans of the Monkey King as much as the readers of the Journey did though I much preferred the very short version published by Arthur Waley as Monkey. My preference is to take paranormal shenanigans in small doses.

The Dream of the Red Chamber mentioned above is another thing, telling of the fall of a family from high society and of young love among many sisters, cousins and aunts. It is also an academic specialization of its own. Scholars spend almost their entire careers in the study of its linguistic or literary nuances, as some might choose to study Shakespeare or Sophocles. It might be worth the trouble extricating the story from such a tangled fate, probably not as a selection and translation so as to avoid the parsing of phrases but as a selective retelling of the story. 

Ah, another project.

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