A Book From The Sky: A Review

This post is a review of A Book From The Sky, a novel by Xiaolu Guo. I’ll be discussing the plot, characters, and themes of the book, as well as my own thoughts and impressions.

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Sky’s actually a little more complicated than that, but the vast majority of the book is, quite literally, a reproduction of every single character in the standard Chinese lexicon, printed as individual squares on 8x10″ sheets of paper and bound between two hardcover boards. It’s a beautiful and poetic gesture that recalls China’s rich print culture—one that Place is palpably excited about sharing with her audience.

What is A Book From The Sky?

A Book From The Sky is a book that was written by Qian Zhongshu and published in China in the year 1980. The book is a collection of essays that cover a wide range of topics, including Chinese history, culture, and philosophy.

One of the most interesting aspects of the book is Qian’s exploration of the relationship between the Chinese people and their government. He argues that the Chinese people have always been willing to submit to authority, even when that authority is unjust or oppressive. This willingness to submit, he argues, is what has allowed the Chinese government to maintain its power for so long.

Qian also offers a unique perspective on Chinese history. He argues that China’s long period of stability is due not to the wisdom of its rulers, but to the fact that its people have always been willing to accept whatever regime was in power. This acceptance has allowed China to avoid the internal strife and bloodshed that have plagued other nations throughout history.

A Book From The Sky is an important work of Chinese literature, and it provides valuable insights into Chinese culture and society. It is well worth reading for anyone who wants to learn more about China and its people.

Themes and Symbols

One of the most intriguing aspects of A Book From The Sky is its wealth of symbols and themes. Throughout the novel, the author employs a range of objects, images, and colors to represent various concepts.

For example, the color white is often used to symbolize purity or innocence. This is seen in the character of White Peony, who is described as being “as pure and fresh as a jade plant.” Similarly, the character of White Fragrance is said to be “as pure as a blank sheet of paper.”

The color red, on the other hand, is often used to symbolize passion or love. This can be seen in the relationship between Red Plum and Yellow Chrysanthemum, who are portrayed as being deeply in love with one another. Red also represents danger or violence, as seen in the character of Red Beard, who is described as being “as dangerous as a wolf.”

The use of symbols and themes allows the author to explore a variety of ideas and concepts in a more deeply meaningful way. In this way, A Book From The Sky is truly a unique and thought-provoking novel.

The Plot

Qu Li is an engineer and closeted artist who, in an effort to express himself and communicate his forbidden love for another man, secretly covers every inch of his remote village in paper scrolls inscribed with gay Chinese love poems. When the government steps in to “rectify” the situation, burning the scrolls and jailing Qu Li, his wife Xiao-mei begins a dangerous journey to save her husband and keep his memory alive.

The Characters

The Characters:
The book is set in a small town in the midwest during the late 1800s. There are three main characters:
-Tom, the protagonist, is a young boy who is curious about the world and loves to read.
-Hannah, Tom’s mother, is a kind and patient woman who encourages her son’s love of learning.
-Mr. Williams, the local librarian, is a fatherly figure who takes an interest in Tom’s intellectual development.

The Setting

Qian Zhongshu’s A Book From The Sky is set in China during the late Ming Dynasty, a time of great social and political upheaval. The novel follows the life of Shen Fumei, a young woman of humble background who is thrust into the world of the imperial court when she is selected as one of the emperor’s concubines. Shen Fumei must navigate the dangerous waters of court politics, where intrigue and murder are commonplace, in order to survive. Along the way, she also must deal with her own personal demons, including her unrequited love for the emperor and her guilt over her role in the death of her best friend.

The Writing Style

Chinese artist Xu Bing created “A Book from the Sky”, a hand-printed work of art consisting of 4 volumes and more than 1,000 pages. The text is comprised of “inker blots”, which are generated by a machine that Xu Bing designed himself. The catch is that the inker blots are actually meaningless- they don’t form any discernible words or sentences. In other words, it’s complete gibberish.

Despite being complete nonsense, “A Book from the Sky” is an immensely fascinating read. Xu Bing forces the reader to confront their own preconceptions and prejudices about language and meaning. He also challenges the idea that reading should be passive- instead, he encourages active engagement and interpretation from the reader. Overall, Xu Bing’s writing style is avant-garde and experimental- it will definitely push your boundaries and make you think outside the box.


A Book From The Sky is a novel by Tianyi Wang that tells the story of a group of people who find a mysterious book that seems to be from another world. The book is filled with pictures and symbols that no one can understand, but which seem to have a profound effect on those who look at them. The novel follows the characters as they attempt to decipher the book’s secrets and find out where it came from.

Themes in the novel include the power of knowledge, the search for meaning, and the importance of communication. The characters must work together to try to understand the book, and in doing so they learn a great deal about themselves and each other. The novel explores the ways in which we all need others in order to really understand anything, and how ultimately we all crave connection with others.


After reading and studying A Book From The Sky, I have come to several conclusions. First and foremost, Quihais’s work is a masterpiece in the art of bookmaking. Each and every page is crafted with the utmost care, from the delicate paper cuts to the intricate stitching. It is clear that a great deal of time, effort, and love went into its creation.

In terms of its content, A Book From The Sky is both remarkably simple and profoundly complex. On one level, it is a story about a young girl’s journey to find her way home. On another level, it is a commentary on the human condition and our relationship to the natural world. Quihais has crafted a truly unique and thought-provoking work of art that will stay with me for many years to come.

Further Reading

Further Reading is a column dedicated to diving deeper into the books that we’ve been reading, discussing the subjects that they cover and providing some recommendations for further reading on the topics.

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