The Dialogue Society Book Group – Meeting 25: Life and Death are Wearing me Out, By Mo Yan

Open to Everyone
Free to Attend

Central London


Ximen Nao, a landowner known for his generosity and kindness, is not only stripped of his land and worldly possessions in Mao’s Land Reform Movement, but is cruelly executed. He goes to Hell, where the king of the underworld has Ximen Nao tortured, trying to make him admit his guilt, to no avail. Finally, Ximen Nao is allowed to return to his own farm, where he is reborn not as a human, but various animals, and finally a boy. Through the earthy and entertaining perspectives of these animals, Ximen Nao narrates fifty years of modern Chinese history, ending on the eve of the new millennium. Here is a spellbinding tale that reveals the author’s love of the land, beset by so many ills, political and traditional.

About the Dialogue Society Book Group

The Dialogue Society Book Group explores the capacity of books to provide windows into different cultural and intercultural worlds. We will be choosing a series of quality novels to read and then to discuss together at relaxed, sociable gatherings at the Dialogue Society. Participants are welcome to suggest books for future sessions.

Participants will need to find a copy of the book chosen for each meeting and will need to read it prior to the meeting. Books will generally be available from local libraries.

Over refreshments we will have a conversation about the book and our responses to it. Discussion may cover:

  • the quality of the storytelling
  • the authenticity and accuracy with which a historical/cultural situation is portrayed
  • our personal responses to it

You do not need to be an expert on literature or anything else to join in. The group should be enjoyable for anyone who enjoys a good book and likes discovering new ones.