Soul Mountain was a profound read. its notable for its unique structure that is quite confusing to read at first, but eventually you'l get used to it. the book is part travelogue and part introspection. the loneliness and the sense of longing felt by the author during his journey fueled him to write in philosophical terms, it gets a bit dragging at some points. its the travel anecdotes that i enjoyed the most.
"The novel is loosely based on the author's journey in rural China, which was inspired by a false diagnosis of lung cancer. The novel is a part autobiographical, part fictional account of a man's journey to find the fabled mountain Lingshan. It is a combination of story fragments, travel accounts, unnamed characters (referred to by the pronouns "I", "you", "she", etc.), and folk poetry/legends."my favorite passages:
"the dream is like this. you are at the bottom of the cliff, walking one way and the other, but can't find the road up. you can see yourself getting closer and then suddenly you are moving further away. after going in circles for quite some time you finally give up and just let your legs carry you along the mountain road. when it dissappears behind the cliff, you can't help feeling dissapointed. you have no idea where the mountain road beneath your feet leads but in any case you dont actually have a destination.______
you walk straight ahead and the road goes in circles. actually, there has never been a definite goal in your life. all your goals keep changing as time passes and as locations change, and in the end the goals no longer exist. when you think about it, life in fact doesnt have what may be called ultimate goals."
somwat nihilistic noh?