Dai Sijie's style is unmatched. His writing is quirky, descriptive and funny. He possesses the gift of painting a picture with his words without ever being heavy-handed. I discovered his marvelous writing with Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress, and I've re-discovered it with Mr. Muo's Travelling Couch.
Mr. Muo is an interesting character. I've never come across a character quite like him, and I don't think I ever will again. He is the perfect blend of East and West, and he knows it. Muo is perfectly imperfect, likable while still managing to be revolting and disconcerting at times.
With every chapter, the story took a new turn. This book contained so many surprises and unexpected events that I could never predict what was going to happen next. Despite the multiple plot twists, this is not a thriller or mystery novel, but rather a sequence of peculiar happenings in the life of a peculiar man. The narrative moves along quickly and will easily pull you in.
The basis of the novel is that Muo, China's first psychoanalyst, is trying to free the woman he loves from prison. The story is so much more, though. Muo is a student of Freud, and it's apparent in his view of the world and the chronicle of his life. I would consider this to be quite the Freudian tale!
My rating of this book is a 3-3.5/5. I enjoyed it thoroughly, but it's a little light for my tastes. This may have been a better book to read in the summer or between more serious, thought-provoking works. Still, I highly recommend it to anyone looking for a light, humorous and odd little tale.
An odd psychoanalyst who probably needs care more than those he tries to help fumbles through a complicated predicament involving Chinese party leaders and the quest for a virgin.