Soul Mountain by Gao Xingjian

Soul Mountain

Gao Xingjian

A traveller dreamily roams the countryside, villages and cities of China in search of a present and a past. The stories of the people he meets reveal parts of the multi-layered history of China.


The dark cypress at the entrance to the village has been lashed by frost and the leaves have turned a deep red. Beneath it, a man with an ashen face is leaning on a hoe. You ask him the name of the village. His eyes look right at you but he doesn't reply. You turn to her and say the fellow is a grave robber. She bursts out laughing. Once past him she says in your ear, he's got mercury poisoning. You say he stayed in the crypt too long. There were two of them, the other one died from mercury poisoning but he survived.

  • Songlines by Bruce Chatwin
  • Wild Swans by Jung Chang

Books with similar mood

Ice Road

Gillian Slovo

Mary Ann Sate, Imbecile

Alice Jolly

The Prophets of Eternal Fjord

Kim Leine


Alexandra Lapierre

The Blind Assassin

Margaret Atwood

An Orchestra of Minorities

Chigozie Obioma

We That Are Young

Preti Taneja

Traveller of the Century

Andres Neuman

A Time to Every Purpose Under Heaven

Karl O Knausgaard

At Swim, Two Boys

Jamie O'Neill

Look at Me

Jennifer Egan

Bold as Love

Gwyneth Jones


Michael Cordy

In the Light of What We Know

Zia Haider Rahman

Bricks and Mortar

Clemens Meyer

A Book of Strange New Things

Michel Faber

The Kills

Richard House

The Orchardist

Amanda Coplin


Richard T Kelly

Crooked River Burning

Mark Winegardner

The Old Drift

Namwali Serpell


Adam Roberts

Santa Evita

Tomas Elroy Martinez

The Farewell Symphony

Edmund White

Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend

Matthew Green

The Blasphemer

Nigel Farndale

The Clay Dreaming

Ed Hillyer

Dirt Music

Tim Winton

My Name is Red

Orhan Pamuk

The Slap

Christos Tsiolkas

The Shining Girls

Lauren Beukes

The Dovekeepers

Alice Hoffman

A Life Apart

Neel Mukherjee

Of Bees and Mist

Erick Setiawan

The Gift of Rain

Tan Twan Eng

We Need to Talk About Kevin

Lionel Shriver


Karin Slaughter

Otherland, Volume 1: City of Golden Dreams

Tad Williams

The Fifth Woman

Henning Mankell

Twelve Bar Blues

Patrick Neate


Janette Turner Hospital

The Chosen

Ricardo Pinto

A Clash of Kings

George R R Martin

Soul Cage

Tetsuya Honda

The Borrowed

Chan Ho-Kei

The Architect's Apprentice

Elif Shafak

The Execution of Noa P. Singleton

Elizabeth L Silver

Silent House

Orhan Pamuk