The Banished Immortal: A Life of Li Bai (Li Po) Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
Audible Audiobook, Unabridged
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Hardcover, Deckle Edge
From the National Book Award-winning author of Waiting: a narratively driven, deeply human biography of the Tang dynasty poet Li Bai - also known as Li Po.
In his own time (701-762), Li Bai's poems - shaped by Daoist thought and characterized by their passion, romance, and lust for life - were never given their proper due by the official literary gatekeepers. Nonetheless, his lines rang out on the lips of court entertainers, tavern singers, soldiers, and writers throughout the Tang dynasty, and his deep desire for a higher, more perfect world gave rise to his nickname, the Banished Immortal. Today, Bai's verses are still taught to China's schoolchildren and recited at parties and toasts; they remain an inextricable part of the Chinese language.
With the instincts of a master novelist, Ha Jin draws on a wide range of historical and literary sources to weave the great poet's life story. He follows Bai from his origins on the Western frontier to his ramblings travels as a young man, which were filled with filled with striving but also with merry abandon, as he raised cups of wine with friends and fellow poets. Ha Jin also takes us through the poet's later years - in which he became swept up in a military rebellion that altered the course of China's history - and the mysterious circumstances of his death, which are surrounded by legend.
The Banished Immortal is an extraordinary portrait of a poet who both transcended his time and was shaped by it and whose ability to live, love, and mourn without reservation produced some of the most enduring verses.
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|Listening Length||10 hours and 12 minutes|
|Audible.in Release Date||15 January 2019|
|Publisher||Random House Audio|
|Best Sellers Rank|| #63,258 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals) |
#90 in Chinese History
#331 in Biographies of Authors
#16,331 in Asian History (Books)
Top reviews from other countries
He provides a goodly number of poems, showing us the Chinese version of each one before providing his English translation. Some of his lines are a little banal, but the meaning is always made clear. Strangely he omits my favourite of all Li Po’s poems, the quatrain usually entitled Conversation in the Mountains.
My reservation concerns the book’s subtitle: A Life of Li Bai. Now I have at least half a shelf of books wholly or partially about Li Po, and they all refer to him thus – the name Li Bai was completely unknown to me before this book came my way. Ha Jin himself says that in the West the poet is known as Li Po, so in writing for an English-speaking audience, surely he should have made some move towards his readers? But no, all we get is a constant stream of references to Li Bai or just Bai. It is arrogant to assume that we shall, by some abstruse process of osmosis, work out who the subject of the book is. Nowhere on the front or back cover is it even mentioned that the book is about Li Po. This sort of revisionism drives me to distraction.
Fortunately for book buyers, Amazon does provide both versions of the poet’s name.