FICTION

The Ode to the Goddess of the Luo River

minedition. Jan. 2020. 78p. Tr $35. ISBN 9789888341948.
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Gr 3 Up–Although a goddess and a mortal can fall in love, it is best to remember that the “world of humans and gods could never exist together.” The story of the beautiful goddess of the Luo River is one of love and loss, based on a poem written by Cao Zhi, a Chinese writer who lived “in the state of Wei during the three Kingdoms period (approximately 220-280 CE).” The translation and adaptation from the Chinese is generally fluid but it is the illustration and format that distinguish this large volume, enhancing the drama and scope of the story. Several stunning illustrations are presented on extended gatefolds that open up to almost mural size. They evoke the river, present a sensuous river goddess and the mortal with whom she falls in love (including their ultimate separation), and dramatically depicts other gods and goddesses and other symbolic creatures from Chinese lore. Individual deities and figures are pictured with a brief explanation as well as a note on the history of the story and its illustrations to conclude this unique book.
VERDICT Though not an essential purchase for libraries, this is sure to intrigue readers and may encourage further examination of traditional Chinese art and literature.

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