This review is written by Eugene Kernes
Genre = Novel, History
This is a fictionalized account of the life of the poet Hung Tu who lived during the Tang Dynasty. Containing many of Hung Tu’s poems. Bearing the heart, soul, and intellect of the poet. For poets like Hung Tu, are very observant, and cunning in their words. This is more than just a story as it uses the culture and social organization of China during the time. The story itself is about the whole turbulent life of Hung Tu. From how and why the family moved from the capital to the calamity of bandits. From being sold to a Blue House, to working for governors. But rewards of the struggles endured are tenuous, with calamity striking again and again. A poetic portrait of the vicissitude and complexity of life. The uncertainty of potential outcomes in a variety of decisions. Hung Tu was brilliant with words, but that was hard to show in a patriarchal society. But many of the lessons learned facilitated in refining skills in observation and judgement that would be greatly valued in time.
The transitions between the different times of Hung Tu’s life have poor narrative transitions, making it a bit difficult to read and prevents flow within the narrative. As this book contains cultural aspects and traditions, many of the cultural traits can be missed without their prior knowledge. This info would help readers understand the background ideology and decision making.