The Last Quarter of the Moon by Chi Zijian

The Last Quarter of the Moon

Chi Zijian

This epic saga of the nomadic Evenki tribe is a moving homage to a doomed culture and its shamanistic relationship with nature, where the landscape is as much a character as the people. We are transported through time and space by the narrator’s lyrical tale of stoic endurance and resistance to encroaching modernity, as Japanese and Soviet forces threaten the ancient ways of life.

Extract

Over the course of my life I’ve seen many a mountain and no longer recall all of them. In my eyes, every mountain on the Right Bank is a star sparkling on Mother Earth. During the spring and summer, these stars are green, in the autumn they are golden yellow and silvery white in the winter.
I love them. They are like human beings with their own temperaments and physiques. Some are short and rounded, like a clay pot turned upside down; some stand tall and elegantly linked like the beautiful outstretched horns of a reindeer. In my eyes, the trees on the mountains are masses of flesh and blood.

Parallels
  • Wolf Totem by Jiang Rong
  • Soul Mountain by Gao Xingjian