The novel, Wolf Totem, is a riveting semi-autobiographical story about the experiences of a young student in Beijing, China who is sent to the countryside of Inner Mongolia in 1967, during China's Cultural Revolution.

The book is written by Lu Jiamin (under the pseudonym of Jiang Rong) whose true identity was revealed only after publication several years later.

He was inspired by accident to write the book after witnessing a pack of wolves chase a herd of sheep off a cliff and then drag their bodies into a cave. At first terrified, but then absolutely fascinated by the wolve's intelligence and teamwork, the author began to study them and their relationship with the local nomads. He became so enthralled with the wolves that he even attempted to domesticate one.

The novel is narrated by protagonist Chen Zhen who just like the author left Beijing during the Cultural Revolution to work in Inner Mongolia.

 The story is told through the descriptions of folk traditions, rituals, and life on the steppe. It compares the culture of the ethnic Mongolian nomads and the Han Chinese farmers who settled in their territory, praising the "wolf like freedom, independence, respect, teamwork and competition" of the nomads and criticising the "autocratic, sheeplike" nature of the farmers.

The book also condemns the agricultural collectivisation imposed on the nomads by the farmers and the ecological disasters it caused.

Wolf Totem Jiang Ronge
It ends with a 60-page "call to action" which is disconnected from the main thread of the novel.

Wolf Totem has received more than 10 literary prizes, as well as other recognitions, despite Jiang's stated refusal to attend any awards ceremonies or participate in any publicity activities. It is a highly recommended book to read, combining a strong social statement along with the author's love and knowledge of wolves.

Totem du Loup

Link to  purchase the Novel: Wolf Totem: A Novel 

Responses to "Wolf Totem by Jiang Rong - Novel Review (Audio)"

  1. Anonymous says:

    WHITE WOLF is fascinating and a lovely alone for you.

  2. Anonymous says:

    ty, for sharing, a must read . . . I am facinated not only by Wolves and encounters I have had with our beautiful relatives, but I love to learn anything about Mongolian Nomads. I would love to visit the grasslands and the culture. ^..^

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