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Barry Hughart (1934–2019)

Autor(a) de Bridge of Birds

4 Works 4,791 Membros 137 Reviews 51 Favorited

About the Author


Obras de Barry Hughart

Bridge of Birds (1984) 2,521 cópias
The Story of the Stone (1988) 905 cópias
Eight Skilled Gentlemen (1990) 827 cópias


Conhecimento Comum

Nome de batismo
Hughart, Barry
Data de nascimento
Data de falecimento
Local de nascimento
Peoria, Illinois, USA
Locais de residência
Tucson, Arizona, USA
New York, New York, USA
Phillips Academy
Columbia University (BA|1956)
mine layer
dialogue writer
bookstore clerk
Lenox Hill Book Shop
United States Air Force
World Fantasy Award for best novel (1985)
Mythopoeic Fantasy Award (1986)
Pequena biografia
When I got out of Andover in the 1950s I suffered from fairly severe depression, but this was back when the only such term recognized by the medical profession was “depressive” following “manic” which was one bad gig until some genius renamed it “bipolar disorder” and after that it couldn’t harm a fly. Since I wasn’t lucky enough to qualify for manic and clinical depression didn’t exist they diagnosed schizophrenia and packed me off to a booby hatch. (Which was not entirely a bad thing. Man, the scene at Kings County Psychotic Ward was like awesome!) Then I was promoted to a slightly less odorous asylum where Doctor Oscar Diethelm expounded upon the delights of going snickety-snick on my frontal lobes, and while it would take too long to explain I managed to escape to Columbia University. There I found myself groping through weird landscapes obscured by clouds of pot behind which pimpled prophets of the Beat Generation shrieked, “Our minds destroyed by madness, starving, hysterical, naked, dragging through black streets at dawn looking for an angry fix, or what the fuck, something like that. Yo, daddy-o!” and I said to myself, “Barry, you have found a home.”

When I wafted back into the world a few years later my depression was still there but I was allowed to prove my sanity by blowing things up for the U.S. Air Force. No, not Vietnam. Planting ingenious and mostly illegal mine fields around the eternal DMZ in Korea. Time passed but not much else. I moved to the Arizona/Sonoran Desert where I could live quietly, surrounded on all sides by prickly pear, cat’s claw, devil’s horns, barrel cactus, jumping cactus, and illegal immigrants. I still occasionally dreamed of bright flashes followed by BOOM! which was a shame because I had other memories of the Far East: good memories, warm memories, and in 1977—ten years before Prozac—I decided to use those and whatever else I could come up with to create an alternate world into which I could creep on dark and stormy nights and pull over my head like a security blanket. So I read a lot and scribbled a lot and gradually the land of Li Kao began to take shape. But the first draft of Bridge of Birds didn’t really work and I couldn’t see what was wrong, so I dumped it into a drawer for a few years. Then one day I read Lin Yutang’s The Importance of Understanding and found the prayer to a little girl that I mention in a footnote in the final version. It made me realize that while I’d invented good things like monsters and marvels and mayhem the book hadn’t really been about anything. I opened the drawer. “Okay!” I said to myself. “This book is going to be about love.” And so it is, and so are ones that followed.

Will there be more? I doubt it, and it’s not because of bad sales and worse publishers. It’s simply that I’d taken it as far as I could. Oh, I could come up with more ingenious plots and interesting characters and so on, but the Ox/Master Li format had become just that, a format, and no matter how well I wrote I’d just be repeating myself. Many writers are content to settle down with an endless if predictable series, but I’d be miserable, and so it was like deciding to quit smoking: cold turkey or forget about it, and I chose cold turkey. Anyway, it was a lot of fun while it lasted, and I hope Ox and Li Kao can continue to give fun to readers, and I most particularly hope that on dark and stormy nights some of those readers will be able to crawl into my alternate world and pull it over them like a security blanket.

Farewell. [from the Amazon record for The Chronicles of Master Li and Number Ten Ox, Kindle ed., retrieved 6/1/2015]



I enjoyed this much more than I expected - great fun!
spiritedstardust | outras 95 resenhas | Dec 29, 2022 |
I thought this was a fun book, with lots of good humor. I had a bit of trouble keeping up with all the characters, but that wasn't too much of a problem. I guess you could compare this somewhat to The Princess Bride in many ways, though I didn't like this as much. But it was a fun diversion from my usual more serious reads.
MartyFried | outras 95 resenhas | Oct 9, 2022 |
Book Review of Barry Hughart's 'Bridge of Birds: A Novel of An Ancient China That Never Was' (1985)

I should have written a review weeks ago. But I have a slight flaw in my character. (Haha).

If this book were to assume human form, it would be that golden statue of Budai surrounded by small children. I imagine him to be jokey and laughey, but sometimes veers into moments of extreme profundity, then he's back at being a goofball again.

Bridge of Birds tells of the adventures of Number Ten Ox and the great scholar Master Li Kao in pursuit of a cure for a great calamity that has befallen Number Ten Ox's village. Number Ten Ox is endearing because of his pureness of heart. Master Li Kao is just crazy, but not really. It's a simple and straightforward story, but it's not really. Along the way to their quest for the cure, you are presented a panoramic view of a China that is filled with magic of all sorts of varieties. Things are not what they seem.

What stood out for me was the sense of humor. I remember reading a lot of these zen stories when I was younger, and I thought the book has that spirit to it. Though light-hearted, there are some really profound and sad scenes. The humor can get morbid and dark.

This book can be talked about, but as the great zen master Lee Siu-Lung once said,
“Its like a finger pointing away to the moon. Dont concentrate on the finger or you will miss all that heavenly glory.” Now go and experience all that heavenly glory for yourself.
… (mais)
1 vote
rufus666 | outras 95 resenhas | Aug 14, 2022 |



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