BRIGANTINE is an unusual novel in Overseas Chinese Literature. The theme, characters, structure and language are relatively atypical, even in Contemporary Chinese Literature. It tells the story of the life of an American veteran seen through the eyes of a Chinese writer living in Europe. It tells about extraordinary friendship and self-redemption. The main characters in the novel like William, Donny, David and even Essar are painted in strong idealized colors. One can even say that this novel is a well-built fairytale for adults reminiscent of Hermann Hesse’s “The Glass Bead Game”.
Litt. D. Zhang Weidong, former Editor of “Chinese Literature”
BRIGANTINE is unique in a style that has never been seen before. The text has a distinctive sense of music and feeling. The author is both erudite and profound in insight. The book is written with a broad vision and imagination reminiscent of the Dutch writer Cees Nooteboom. This book proves that the author is able to seamlessly integrate Chinese literary fluency, which she has cultivated for many years, with European multiculturalism. This is a rare work that is difficult to find in the Chinese literary world.
Fang Berlin, Translator (“The Sound and the Fury”, “A Bend in the River”, “Let the Great World Spin”, “A Green Tree grows in Brooklyn”)
The novel is reminiscent of the work of Ecco and Pamuk. First of all it has a deep sense of history. Secondly the characters are complex and the structure is multidimensional. The reader needs to be attentive and sort things out. Thirdly the story is labyrinthine. Fourthly, strictly speaking, it has the charm of a journalistic novel. Fifthly the novel is very rational, unlike novels by many female writers in China.
Wang Jiming, Writer, Shanghai
More than once I turned the cover of the book to check the author’s name. Xie Lingjie is definitely a woman’s name. Nevertheless, the extraordinary breath shown in the book is not seen in the works of well-known female writers such as Zhang Ailing, Bin Xin or Ding Ling.
Li Hou Nanxi, Writer, New York
BRIGANTINE has a broad artistic and scholarly view. Based on the analysis of and the reflection on Europeans post-war life, the author starts her philosophical thinking-path about war, justice, peace, history, power, humanity, destiny, identity etc. The path takes her to the religious meaning of penance, forgiveness and redemption hidden deep in the human soul. More importantly, the author’s novel ideas and complex narrative create a maze-like atmosphere, as well as an ambiguous and rich storyline placed on a bi-linear structure. Symbols and metaphors are used everywhere, making BRIGANTINE a unique experimental novel, leaving readers a lot of space for imagination and reflection and giving the contemporary Chinese literary world a lot of inspiration.
Ji Hongfang, Professor and Doctor of Arts, School of Humanities, Changshu Institute of Technology
There are many literary works about the Second World War or post-war years, but works by a Chinese writer trying to understand the European narrative are rare. Marvel at the author’s profound knowledge of European history, religion, philosophy, art, technology etc.
Xu Jianping, Professor Department of Chinese, Department of Translation, Brussels Free University
BRIGANTINE is a story of the world told by a Chinese. The novel uses an intricate structure and superb skills to penetrate the intimate and complex relationship of three comrades-in-arms. It explores the changes that are happening in the world and in people’s hearts before and after World War two. The cross-stylistic form, the deep digging in the human nature, human heart and interpersonal relationships are intertwined in the text, showing us a bright and deep spiritual picture, as well as the author’s broad vision, clever ideas and writing ambitions.
Li Yunlei, Deputy Editor of “Literature Theory and Criticism”
BRIGANTINE is like a polygonal prism that refracts colorful and dazzling beams of light. It radiates dizzyingly to all levels of philosophy, biology, anthropology, sociology, oceanography, literature and religion. Its blue heart of the ocean envelops the exploration of the deep and complicated human nature, the perspectives of the spiritual world, the torture and compassion of human destiny and living conditions. The full-bodied character images, the bi-linear structure, the magnificent language, the rich and complex imagery… It is all so full of poetic passion and abundant imagination. The artistic form combines letters, reports, poetry, theatre and many types of scientific knowledge to form a variety of a cross-border carnival with a strong artistic charm.
Jiang Shaochuan, Professor, School of Chinese, Central China Normal University
The horizon of thinking and of connecting things, the fascinating plot, the broad knowledge, the story with its ups and downs. Strong temperament, rich and clear structure, refreshing form, absorbed in the exploration of the soul. BRIGANTINE truly penetrates the reality and history of Europe as well as our absurd destiny and the humanistic spirit, bringing extraordinary surprises and expectations for Chinese literature in the world.
Li Liang, Editor-in-chief World Chinese Literature Forum
The design of the novel’s plot is exquisite and flexible with twists and turns. The narrative is precise, delicate and meticulous. The images are rich and profound, the characters are numerous but not complicated, scattered but not chaotic. More than ten years of accumulating knowledge and in-depth historical research are the basis of the profound writing skills in the refinement of the historical subject, not an easy thing to do. As far as Chinese literature in the contemporary world is concerned, BRIGANTINE breathes a strong European cultural atmosphere and brings a spiritual shock to readers, setting a benchmark for the positioning of European and Chinese literature. As far as Western literature is concerned, the theme of BRIGANTINE and the strong sense of history have brought closer together the sense of harmony of western readers and the sense of mystery from the oriental perspective. Over time BRIGANTINE will be a spiritual ship that travels the world’s literary space and a sail for readers to reach the other side of life.
Su Yongyan, Professor Chinese Department of Xiamen University
BRIGANTINE is undoubtedly a groundbreaking work beyond the expectations of readers. This novel is full of fiction, poetry, diary, correspondence, drama as well as history, philosophy, religion and an academic and marine encyclopedia. This unique novel creates a brand-new reading paradigm for readers.
Mo Fuhuan, Professor Guangxi Normal University of Science and Technology
Thanks to Xie Lingjie’s novel my past experiences and reading expectations were overturned. "Brigentine" subverts my previous experience and ordinary reading expectations.）
This is a work that never feels familiar, it is a work full of new ideas and creativity. The author’s strong writing style, the broad horizons and the wonderful stories made me secretly think how fortunate I was to have found this groundbreaking masterpiece. The work is heavy, colorful, complex, full and self-contained. The author’s exquisite artistic literacy and profound humanistic feelings are all beyond my reading experiences so far, which brings a lot of surprises.
Liu Cunpei, former Editor of Latin American Literature of Yunnan Publishing House
The two-line narrative of BRIGANTINE, full of characters and numerous details, is packed with history, ancient books, mazes, academic and marine encyclopedia. Before I finished reading it I recommended it to my friend in Prague. At that time my recommendation was: a very novel scholarly book. When I read BRIGANTINE I had the illusion I was not reading a Chinese novel written by a Chinese writer, but a novel translated from a foreign language into Chinese. At that time I was reading a lot of foreign novels, but that was not the reason for my illusion. The whole atmosphere of the novel is just very close to Western literature.
Yayu, Writer, Nanning