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Extended Audio Sample Brothers Audiobook, by Yu Hua Click for printable size audiobook cover
3.9 out of 53.9 out of 53.9 out of 53.9 out of 53.9 out of 5 3.90 (29 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Yu Hua Narrator: Louis Changchien Publisher: Recorded Books, LLC Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: October 2005 ISBN: 9781440723377
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Acclaimed novelist Yu Hua became the first Chinese author to win the distinguished James Joyce Foundation Award. Controversial in his own country for his biting satire, he creates insightful portraits of Chinese society. Step-brothers Baldy Li and Song Gang couldn’t be more different. While Baldy is a girl-chasing teen, Song is quiet and studious. The two come of age in a vibrant Chinese culture struggling with constant change. Download and start listening now!

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Imagine a novel written by William Dean Howells together with D. H. Lawrence, updated by Tom Wolfe, and then filmed by Baz Luhrmann, and you’ll have some idea of what Brothers would be like had it originated in the West. Translate that imaginary novel-film into Chinese, and you have the riddling circus of miscues and pantomimes that is Brothers in English…Brothers is a strange and wonderful thing.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “This new English translation excellently captures [Brothers’] beauty and high farce…Portraits of contemporary China are rarely sharper or more savage.”

    Time

  • “Impressive…A family history documenting four decades of profound social and cultural transformation in China…[An] irreverent take on everything from the Cultural Revolution to the capitalist boom…[A] relentlessly entertaining epic.”

    New Yorker

  • “Yu Hua’s epic novel…is a tale of ribaldry, farce, and bloody revolution, a dramatic panorama of human vulgarity…At once hyperrealist and phantasmagorical…And yet the writing is not coldblooded; human warmth and compassion do come through all the cruel absurdity…We can see a true picture of the country refracted in this funhouse mirror.”

    Washington Post

  • “A consistently and terrifically funny read…For all its populism, Brothers is no light entertainment but a caustic and painful satire from which almost nothing emerges unscathed.”

    Los Angeles Times

  • “Yu’s unflinching narrative, by turns tragic and hilarious, shows ordinary lives being broken down and built up again…By the last page, the novel has imparted a whole world of histories and personalities that are difficult to forget.”

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

  • “Welcome to Yu Hua’s earthy theater of the absurd…At once gruesome and erotic, uproarious and shrewd, this three-ring circus of a novel, this tragicomic tale of opportunism and compassion, love and terror, boldly embodies the striving of China and the aberrant frenzy of the global marketplace.”

    Booklist (starred review)

  • “The novel is cheerfully vulgar and obscene, insistently declarative and overemphatic. But it’s gripping throughout 600-plus pages, and it rises to a tremendous climax, after Baldy Li’s furious acquisitive energies have precipitated tragedy and created monsters that seem to have emerged, sweating and shrieking, from the realms of myth. A deeply flawed great novel, akin to the best work of Zola, Louis-Ferdinand Céline, and, arguably, Rabelais.”

    Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

  • Shortlisted for the Man Asian Literary Prize in 2008

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jennifer Bylok | 2/10/2014

    " Very similar, stylistically, to Gabriel Garcia Marquez. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Carlo Mayer | 2/9/2014

    " Finito il Feb 16, 2009 "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Silke | 2/2/2014

    " Like any other Yu Hua book I found this one unputdownable. It feels as absurd as The Master and Margarita to begin with but your ironic smile kind of freezes on your lips when you read on and realize that most f the stories here have a root in reality. The brutality of the Cultural Revolution, the fierce loyalty within the Chinese families, the day-to-day machoism and the focus on money-making for any price: just read newspaper articles about modern China and suddenly Brothers doesn't seem too far fetched. But every time when you think you need a break, Yu Hua turns the story around and goes on to describe som hilariously witty episodes or even people and thereby gives this book the perfect structure. I hope this is going to be turned into a film! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Sara | 2/1/2014

    " The characters of this book were either so contemptible, or such POllyanna's that I finally just gave up. Which is not to say I didn't read like 300 pages of this unecessarily long tome. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Erin | 1/31/2014

    " I finally finished this monster (and monstrosity) of a book after three months and several library checkouts. I don't know why I bothered to finish it. Brothers is a 600+ page tale of two step-brothers who vow to stick together no matter what happens throughout their lives. The beginning of the book felt repetitive, but the book ends up feeling choppy. I didn't feel sympathetic towards any of the characters (Song Gang is the closest I got, but ultimately he was just too boring), or connected to the story in any way. I really disliked this book, and most likely won't ever pick up anything by Yu Hua again (fortunately I read To Live before Brothers). I'm better off re-reading anything by Ha Jin. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Matt | 1/18/2014

    " Epic. Hua takes the reader on a tour of late-twentieth century Chinese history through a small town and the two brothers whose lives intertwine with its fortunes. At equal turns profanely funny and heartbreakingly human, Hua's prose is fierce in its teeth and its heart. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Ali | 1/5/2014

    " Apparently this is a major best seller in China. Personally I had a very difficult time getting through it. I thought it would give a good history of China, but not much context to the story was provided. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 G | 1/2/2014

    " Funny and dirty and it tells so much about modern China. It's long but engrossing, like the best of Dickens. The short chapters make it fly by. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Marilou | 12/28/2013

    " Bawdy, funny, heartbreaking, violent, odd, illuminating. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Stephen Matic | 12/9/2013

    " Loved it, but wished for a better translation. I think it was translated very accurately, however a bit too literally. The english language doesn't fall from this version too easily, but the story is a big wow epic. Lots of fun with Baldy Li, Big Balls Li, and many others. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Mimi | 12/7/2013

    " This is barely 3 stars. It was an easy read, but not always pleasant. The first part takes place during the Cultural Revolution, full of brutalities and deaths. The second half is bawdy and way too long (could have used a good editor) & is mainly about the rampant capitalism in current China . "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Erick Rodríguez | 11/30/2013

    " I think the style is unique among the books i have read. So many sad moments and death without reason. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ronda | 9/13/2013

    " wonderful...i wish i could give this book 20 stars! funny...sad...sweet...thought provoking...clever...i will definitely read more from this author. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ellen Shachter | 7/12/2013

    " Loved this crazy odyssey. Comic and harrowing story about life in modem China. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Vanessa | 7/10/2013

    " Completely and utterly crass and hilarious -- loved it. The NYT review says something was lost in the translation, some delicacy -- but of the Chinese I know, and of the Chinese authors I read, the vulgarity is *entirely* fitting "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lisa Lesyshen | 11/29/2012

    " Wow was that a long book! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 è­· å…‰ | 8/19/2012

    " have you ever read a book which is delightful at the beginning but awful in the end? this is one of it. 5 stars for the 1st book, -2 stars for the 2nd. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Farryl | 6/12/2011

    " About the cultural revolution in China. Life in the capitalist world. Touching story of brothers. Very funny incidents. Lively characters. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Monroe | 5/11/2011

    " Amazing illustration of China's transition from socialism to communism to capitalism. Hard to put down once you've started. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Marcie | 3/15/2011

    " Book 1 is fun, interesting, and informative. But Book 2 is way, way, too long, and not fun etc. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Stephen | 3/6/2011

    " Loved it, but wished for a better translation. I think it was translated very accurately, however a bit too literally. The english language doesn't fall from this version too easily, but the story is a big wow epic. Lots of fun with Baldy Li, Big Balls Li, and many others. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Laura | 2/20/2011

    " This book of fiction gives a good depiction of 20th century China. Worth the read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jennifer | 11/18/2010

    " Very similar, stylistically, to Gabriel Garcia Marquez. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 A | 10/18/2010

    " A hilarious baggy monster about the romance between a village family and totalitarian capitalism with Chinese characteristics. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kate | 9/11/2010

    " Holy crap. Amazing. By turns laugh-out-loud funny and heart-rending. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Dave | 7/18/2010

    " Satirical novel that spans forty years examining the rise of capitalist China, though some parts appear to be really lost in translation. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Alex | 6/22/2010

    " First 300 pages are really hard to get through, the rest is good to read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Farryl | 3/1/2010

    " About the cultural revolution in China. Life in the capitalist world. Touching story of brothers. Very funny incidents. Lively characters. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Micah | 2/22/2010

    " Absolutely loved it. this guy is a great writer. his style is deceptively simple and his themes are always sweeping and epic. also, this book got me through two vacations (vegas and CO skiing) in three weeks so it reminds me of a good time in my life. "

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