Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Book Review - "The Last Quarter of the Moon" by Chi Zijian (Translated by Bruce Humes)

This was a very unique read about a little-known nomadic tribe called Evenki who are hunters and reindeer-herders living in the northern part of Inner Mongolia.

Through the eyes of an old woman, the bitter-sweet everyday life story of five generations of her clan unfolds in the time line spanning the 20th century. Descriptions of the wilderness scenery, of nature at its most charming and most cruel, of Evenki rituals and shamanic customs are interwoven with emotive relationships and interactions of the clan members as they gradually move away from their habitual and carefree nomadic lifestyle to one imposed on them by external forces like the Japanese occupation, the Chinese lumber trade and modernization.

The writing is plain (the novel is a translation) but the stringing of words moves you to the core. The tone is calm and quiet throughout, yet it tugs at your heartstrings.

No comments: