Right. I've finished another Wang Dulu novel. Caifeng Yinshe Zhuan 彩凤银蛇传.
It is perhaps amongst the most interesting of the four I've read, probably the best written, though the plot isn't the most nail-biting.
On the whole, it's up there with Xianxian Jian, although the former's plot is perhaps more intriguing, the descriptions in Caifeng Yinshe Zhuan are something to die for. The vivid portrayal of nature and women, the psychology of the main protagonist, very sympathetically drawn, and the rather sad last two chapters will draw tears from female fans. Also the very realistic martial arts and the almost cinematic scene-painting are up there amongst the best literature I've read, never mind wuxia.
The plot isn't like I've said the most nail-biting, but it's still enough to make you turn pages.
PLOT: A man arrives at a fishing village running away from his foes. He woes the most beautiful woman in the village. The villagers realize he knows kung-fu; he is asked to fight a brigade on another island. To his surprise he finds a female fighter even more beautiful than his fiancee there...
Like Yun Zhongyue, whom I learned in this forum, Wang Dulu's protagonists all have jobs... you won't be scratching your head wondering where they earn their money...
Next up: rereading one Louis Cha novel, plus one new Gu Long and one Ni Kuang wuxia novel (very short)
Well, I'm a crazy reader, but I think that you beat me here !!
I return after reading two rather short Wang Dulus, both a little longer than Jin Yong's White Horse Neighing in the West Wind. They are contained in the same volume. There are spoilers in both my reviews.
Purple Lightning, Green Frost (《紫電青霜》)
The title refers to the names of two swords.
I've almost forgotten how enjoyable a Wang Dulu is. This short novel is very enjoyable, despite dealing mainly with more "ordinary" heroes. Wang Dulu is a stickler for realism: you won't find supernatural kungfu in it. The blurb quotes from Gu Long: "At a certain juncture in my life, I suddenly discovered that my favorite wuxia novelist happened to be Wang Dulu." Yes, Wang Dulu is that neglected.
The novel begins very intriguingly as an old blind blacksmith tries to stop a companion from seeking vendetta... but fails. He then vows to avenge him and forge a supreme sword, called White Light (白光), to achieve this aim. The story is narrated from the perspective of his apprentice, a simple, honest man who also wants to learn the art of forging great weapons... he memorizes how his master does the forging and the blind blacksmith later decides to try to kill him. When he fails to, he finally tells his apprentice the story behind the vendetta... it is a story dating back to Nian Gengyao (年羹堯) and that Qing official's execution after being framed by a wicked official.
This, in short, is the premise of Purple Lightning, Green Frost. Later in the novel his apprentice, Li Rujiang (李如江)，forges another pair of blades (the title swords) to counter the White Lighting, after the latter is stolen by wicked people.
Wang Dulu is a realistic novelist and he is at his best here. He is also a master storyteller. His plot is not very complicated but it is enthrallingly told. I also don't think his language use is inferior to Jin Yong's or even Liang Yusheng's--in the early Republican period, writers really had outstanding Chinese education. Yet he does not flaunt his talent--the linguistic component is down-to-earth but when he needs to describe something, rich language flows out of his pen easily, something most writers cannot achieve nowadays.
However, don't go to Wang Dulu for fantastic fighting or kungfu--in a Wang Dulu, even blocking an enemy's acupoint or executing qinggong to climb up a wall or surmount the roofs is a difficult art to master. He is a very realistic wuxia writer--to his benefit.
Precious Saber Flying (《寶刀飛》)
After Purple Lightning, Green Frost, I thought Wang Dulu could not top it. I was wrong. The story that follows it, Precious Saber Flying, is every bit as intriguing.
The story starts with an impoverished young Empress Cixi (then still unmarried) and her younger sister mourning their dead father on a boat. They are heading for the capital and a minor Han official gives them a bounty to bury their father--mistakenly. He makes a mistake, thinking their dead father his friend, but makes the best of his blunder. At the end of the novel, he becomes a high-ranking official after Cixi comes into power.
But Cixi is only a minor player. The story revolves around Qiu Wenhuan (裘文煥), who helps Cixi fights some pirates on the boat and later heads for Beijing to search for a legendary saber for his master. The story also enmeshes a romance and how he finally manages to trace the whereabouts of the saber.
It's a short novel, but intriguingly told. I suppose people will always denigrate Wang Dulu because his heroes are ordinary (but still very chivalric) and most of the kungfu are down-to-earth and not fantastical. They don't offer the visceral enjoyment of a Jin Yong novel. But it's also his strength--he is a realistic writer who, here, successfully reproduces life and scenes during the Qing Dynasty, The fact he was from a Bannerman family meant that all (I believe) his wuxia novels are set during the Qing Dynasty. Wang Dulu actually makes a virtue of it--at no time do you doubt the authenticity of the depicted background.
The novel ends somewhat hastily. The later events are not narrated but can easily be imagined. The saber is in his hands and he will come back for the girl. Wang Dulu leaves that much to the imagination.
In short, I like both novels very much. Wang Dulu is really excellent in the shorter genre.
My ratings: Purple Lightning, Green Frost (《紫電青霜》), 4.5/5; Precious Saber Flying (《寶刀飛》), 4.5/5.
I'm back with another review of a Wang Dulu one-volume novel, The Purple Phoenix Dart (《紫鳳鏢》).
Another Wang Dulu novel... another good to great novel. Wang Dulu is such a consistent novelist. But now you should know what to expect: a backdrop in the Qing Dynasty, ultra-realistic characters, psychology over convoluted plot.
The title is somewhat... drab, and the first two chapters are nothing very astonishing. Wang Dulu builds up the tension and suspense then after the two protagonists meet. There are some funny scenes, and some satirical descriptions of the male ego. The male and female leads are in love with each other but neither will really say so, the man more out of pride. There is some dark secret withholding the girl. Hence the premise is set for an intriguing build-up after this chapter.
Over at other forums (some Chinese) I hear people complain about Wang Dulu: so boring, his novels! None of his protagonists know supernatural kungfu! Even their qinggong is a highly cultivated art! Not a bit like Jin Yong, with his extravagant imagination! Not plot based!
True, but all these Wang Dulu make into a virtue. You don't follow a Wang Dulu novel to learn about extraordinary kungfu and out-of-this-world love stories. You read them for descriptions of real people and real tragedies, about common people who sometimes make uncommon, heroic decisions in their lives. This is what set a Wang Dulu book apart. Ordinary people. Extraordinary characters.
What intrigues me is how he develops his characters. Liu Menglong (柳夢龍) here is both similar and a little different from other male Wang Dulu protagonists I have read so far. He has an excess of male pride. The thing is, we still feel for him and his dilemmas. Some parts of The Purple Phoenix Dart are even superior to other Wang Dulu novels I've read: Tao Feng'er (陶鳳兒) isn't the most ethereal, beautiful heroine you will meet but you will definitely feel for her predicament. When Wang Dulu write about their wedding day and night it is so realistic that I wondered if Wang Dulu felt that during his own wedding.
Also, this novel makes me feel for a minor character who dies late in the novel. Actually, this character and his brothers are "villains" but later redeem themselves. A minor coup in wuxia fiction. In comparison, I don't feel at all for Jin Yong's minor characters, because they are so in service to the protagonist.
So this novel can be recommended if you are after romance in a book. Is it perfect? Perhaps not. The ending is a little disappointing; not bad but because so much of what had come before is so good, a little slapdash. Yet it is highly realistic. Again, it is no "happily ever after" ending.
Conclusion: The Purple Phoenix Dart (《紫鳳鏢》), rating: 4.5/5.
Edit: Too many Wang Dulus and Gu Longs. I promise, my next review will be on a Liang Yusheng novel!
kyc : so envy you. you read Chinese novels so fast (y)
That Wang Dulu was from a bannerman family, is very interesting. Then his depiction of Qing army should be much accurate.
I read fast because I'm not a very careful reader. If I need to learn more words, I would read much slower.
Also I have lots of free time in the late afternoons nowadays.
Some people say Wang Dulu was an ethnic Manchu. I wonder if that's true, because he was born before the Xinhai Revolution. No reason why he would use a Han surname before 1911. He was likely to be a Bannerman of ethnic Han descent.
I took one month before reading another Wang Dulu novel. Why does Wang Dulu make me feel so sad after it?
The novel is Xiudai Yinbiao (繡帶銀鏢) ("Embroidered Belt and Silver Darts"). After this book, I have 3 more Wang Dulus to complete his oeuvre (sad :-[ ), plus the Crane-Iron Pentalogy.
There are a few things to distinguish this novel. It doesn't read like a wuxia novel, more like a novel with a love triangle featuring martial arts. At times I'm reminded of Lao She's Rickshaw Boy. The protagonist--a young, simple and courageous armed escort--doesn't deserve his final tragedy, but is assailed throughout by conspiracies and fate. The ending is perhaps the most tragic of all the Wang Dulu novels I've read.
Wang Dulu is a very consistent novelist whose every book has something to offer, but at times I feel he is on auto pilot here. The writing is more down-to-earth and simpler than in his other novels. But it fits the theme of a simple, uncomplicated protagonist who isn't very smart. He's not stupid either, a lot like Xiangzi in Rickshaw Boy.
Most of Wang Dulu's protagonists come from the lowest rung of society. And so is with this one. He starts as a coal laborer and later learns martial arts to become an armed escort, but he lacks the guile and know-how to establish guanxi. His only wish is to find his teacher and to rescue his benefactor Xiaofen, a concubine ill-treated by a local tyrant of Beijing. When the daughter of a fellow armed escort falls in love with him, a love triangle is established.
Wang Dulu--a Bannerman whose knowledge of late Qing Beijing is unrivaled amongst wuxia writers--then gives us a tragic ending that will sadden the most stony-hearted of readers.
It's difficult to rate this novel. It may not be a very good wuxia novel but it's an outstanding love story. Of course, in the end, your sympathy will be with the downtrodden lovers. The writer makes you keep guessing their fate until the very end.
Conclusion: As a wuxia novel (3.5/5); as a love novel (4.5/5).
Admin: yes. I am deleting and banning the spammers. Sorry been really busy these days. Kindly email or whatsapp me if there's any spammers. chefyingsiuyiu
Jul 2, 2016 9:49:02 GMT
siuyiu: yan you'll need either the moderator of your subforum or Admin to delete the thread.
Jul 3, 2016 17:05:51 GMT
chefying: I just checked some of the photos I posted via Photobucket. Looks like they have not been removed.
Jun 17, 2018 11:30:36 GMT
reinafu: Hello, all, I see that there are 141 members on this forum, but we seem to be only 4 or 5 who regularly post ?!! Where are you all ?!! Don't be shy and begin to post, it's a cool forum here and we need much more discussions, informations, cool pictures !!!
Aug 4, 2018 11:26:16 GMT
siuyiu: @caiyi yes, we've heard the sad news. yenchin started a thread. and thanks for the late wishes.
Oct 31, 2018 22:26:32 GMT
caiyi: siuyiu. Oh. I tried to search for any tread about the news but didn't find. So, I put at Shoutbox. I didn't look at the right section.
Nov 1, 2018 1:20:24 GMT
Admin: hi guys! I'm adding a new section on the forum. Since so many of good ancient costume series appear in the market, like Nirvana in Fire, etc. A bit touch of wuxia, but not really wuxia. Some are historical fictions with a touch of wuxia,
Nov 28, 2018 9:14:58 GMT
Admin: hope you all enjoy it
Nov 28, 2018 9:15:06 GMT
chefying: Happy Winter Solstice to all celebrating.
Dec 22, 2018 8:54:14 GMT
Admin: Merry Christmas everyone!!
Dec 24, 2018 6:06:30 GMT
reinafu: Merry Christmas to all members and their families !
Dec 24, 2018 20:42:10 GMT
siuyiu: Merry Christmas @all! May the Boards be even busier in the new year!
Dec 24, 2018 22:10:42 GMT
reinafu: Happy New Year to all members and their families !
Jan 1, 2019 11:12:35 GMT
Admin: happy new year all members and their families!
Jan 2, 2019 2:34:11 GMT
siuyiu: @all happy new year!
Jan 2, 2019 5:18:11 GMT