Sunday, July 24, 2011

Sunday Salon: A Little Picaresque

I am about to embark on exploring the picaresque (strictly from my desk). A picaresque involves 'clever rogues or adventurers especially in a type of fiction' according to my on-line dictionary, and I always have the impression that some sort of journey is also implied or assumed. The Life of Pi, I understand, is about a voyage. Looking through my bookcase I see I have absent-mindedly bought two copies of this book, and have yet to read either. This will be my 'warm-up' picaresque.

After that I will return to a road I have already traveled (the Silk Road) and pick up a few rogues on that. I intend to start with 'Life Along the Silk Road' by Susan Whitfield which is a series of informative short stories about the various people that typically lived along the Silk Road from its hay-day in the 8th -10th centuries. Then I shall move on to a modern day travelogue of the same area 'Shadow of the Silk Road' by Colin Thubron. This comes with some great recommendations, and I am especially looking forward to starting this.

The end of my little picaresque will be with 'Monkey' by Wu Ch'êng-ên. This is a sixteenth century Chinese epic based on the account of the travels of a seventh century monk called Hsüang-Tsang. Like many Chinese Buddhist monks, he traveled along the Silk Road to seek out examples of the sutra in India, in order to bring them back to China for translation.

I have dipped into all these books and feel confident that I shall find at least one clever rogue in each one.


Blogger Laurel-Rain Snow said...

These sound like fun! Thanks for sharing, and have a great week.


Sun Jul 24, 12:54:00 pm  
Blogger Clare Dudman said...

Hope so, Laurel-Rain...

Sun Jul 24, 02:45:00 pm  
Blogger Anne S said...

One of my favourite picaresque novels is by Turkish writer Guneli Gun, and the book is On The Road To Baghdad - a charming retelling of the Arabian Nights from a female viewpoint.

It might be hard to get hold of, but worth the effort.

Mon Jul 25, 03:44:00 am  
Anonymous marly youmans said...

My next novel out will be a picaresque! There are not so many of them anymore...

Mon Jul 25, 04:04:00 am  
Blogger Clare Dudman said...

Anne S: 'On the Road to Baghdad' sounds excellent! I don't think I've ever read a Turkish writer, and would fit into my current Silk Road fascination so shall definitely seek it out. Thanks for letting me know.

Marly: Oooh, I can imagine the picaresque would be right up your street - looking forward to reading this...

Mon Jul 25, 08:07:00 am  

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