Monday, November 16, 2015

Tales from the Tang Dynasty


The book wasn't as exciting as I hoped. Sure it tells of folklore and supernatural occurrences in the Tang dynasty, but simply re-tells without embellishment. So it was totally up to my imagination to decide how the ancients would treat all these strange incidents without the help of advanced science, technology and the ahhh...internet.

Many of the stories and hauntings are familiar. They tell of gods, monsters, demons, angry ghosts, vengeance,  zombies and immortality. They are in fact, morality tales. Often, they involve a female ghost as the protagonist. Aiyoh. Whatever lah. As long as the message gets across- like, don't be greedy, don't easily believe in good fortune falling into your lap, etc. As dry as the writing is, it isn't a total bore. Read it like it was an informative little handbook on folk tales.

Cackled really loud at 第四卷:坊间轶事:大唐八周刊《双鱼座李白,水瓶座杜甫》. It was kinda known that while poets Li Bai (李白) and Du Fu (杜甫) admire each other's talents, the former didn't write as many poems about the latter. The older Li Bai didn't bother much about the younger Du Fu because it could be explained by their star signs. HAHAHAHA. After translation from ancient calendar to this astrology-whatever, the story said Li Bai totally belongs to Pisces (双鱼座) and Du Fu belongs to Aquarius with Taurus rising. Hence, the difference in characters and how they treat each other, as well as the politics of the time. Okay. Whatever. Couldn't stop laughing.

The narrative style in the precursor to each story is akin to an academic journal. The author used a classical form of narrative, including phrasing and rhythm to begin most chapters/stories. A more literary expression, if you will. It resulted in having to re-read some pages just to get a gist of what's happening. Like what I had to do in Chinese classes. Haha. For example. the photo below is the preface and summary to 第三卷:鬼迹:夜幕下的魁影《唐朝的黑夜》. Decipher that!

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