Many readers could not help bursting into tears when they read the book Lifetimes Living.

The book which was written by famous Chinese writer Yu Hua in 1998 narrates the protagonist Fu Gui’s miserable destiny.

In this book, the writer expresses his own understanding to the meaning of life through Fu Gui’s experience.

Originally, Fu Gui was a landlord’s son in the Republic of China (1912-1949). But, because he was addicted to gambling, he gradually lost his wealth and then became a pauper. He experienced a lot of social changes like the Chinese Civil War, the Great Leap Forward Movement and the Great Cultural Revolution. During that period, the nation suffered a lot while the poor man also fell into the mire of misery—his family and friends died one after another. In the end, he lived lonely and only an old ox accompanied with him spending the rest life.

No sensationalized story; no ornate rhetoric. Yu Hua simply used some normal words describing a normal man’s life. However, it was just those normal words which revealed the difficulty of life and cruelty of destiny, and readers were all deeply touched by his frank description.

“After reading Lifetimes Living, I decided, in the future, no matter how big difficulty I meet, I never give up easily,” a reader Shi Bashou said with emotion.

“Being alive.” This is most readers’ feeling after finish the book, and it is the main thought that the writer wants to tell all people. In fact, so-called misfortune and happiness do not exist in the world at all. Your attitude to the life is determined to whether you live happily or not. Although the character Fu Gui encountered all kinds of pains, he did not give up hope and was still alive unyieldingly.

To some extent, the book can be considered as an inspirational book. But, it is actually more than that.

Over the past years, Chinese met the same disasters that Fu Gui experienced. In other words, Fu Gui’s tragedy was a reflection of many Chinese family’s at that time. However, the writer was not just limited to these individual or time tragedies, he wrote the story in order to guide reader to find the meaning of life. That was being alive.

At the end of the story, Fu Gui seemed to have lost all things: his wealth, his friend, even his family. Nevertheless, the cruel destiny could not deprive his will of being alive, which was the only thing Fu Gui had.

The book had been translated into twenty languages, and the Spanish media praised it as one of the most classical literatures in modern China. Because of it, Yu was awarded “French Literature and Art Knight Medal” in 2004. In addition, famous director Zhang Yimou shot a same name movie adapted from the novel in 1994.

Shu Pengqian

About Shu Pengqian

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Shu Pengqian is a TV drama and novel addict. Although most people think she looks like an introvert, she's actually really outgoing.

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