Thirteen was not lucky: yet another DNF. Soul Mountain by Gou Xingjian. The Parent gave this to me-- probably for Christmas-- at least 4 years ago. It won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2000, which makes me feel all the more uncultured for rejecting it in favor of a stack of YA Fantasy from the library.
I'm blaming it on the translation. Every other sentence had a comma splice, and one paragraph went on for four pages-- and not in a cool, experimental way. More of a "I forgot to hit 'return'" way. I might be able to forgive this if the story was fascinating, but so far it's like the Chinese version of a Beat novel: man in the grips of a mid-life crisis flees his relatively privileged but stifling existence in Beijing to wander the southern provinces, searching for meaning and authenticity. Lots of descriptions of depressing little towns, lots of brief encounters with yokels, a few long conversations that don't seem to go anywhere. Maybe it all comes together and is Nobel Prize brilliant in the end, but I'm not wading through all those comma splices to find out.