Reddit meter
all mentions

To Live

256 pages, 2003



1382 books

From the author of Brothers and China in Ten Words, this celebrated contemporary classic of Chinese literature was also adapted for film by Zhang Yimou. The deeply moving story of a man's transformation from the spoiled son of a landlord to a humble peasant, this novel portrays one man's journey from indulgence to repentance. 

After squandering his family's fortune in gambling dens and brothels, the young Fugui settles down to do the honest work of a farmer. Forced by the Nationalist Army to leave behind his family, he witnesses the horrors and privations of the Civil War, only to return years later to face a string of hardships brought on by the ravages of the Cultural Revolution. Left with an ox as his companion in old age, Fugui stands as a model of gritty authenticity: buoyed by his appreciation for life.

The Power of Resilience

Yu Hua's 'To Live' is a testament to the human spirit's ability to endure and adapt. The protagonist, Fugui, experiences numerous hardships but never gives up. This book encourages us to find strength in adversity and keep moving forward, no matter what life throws at us.

The Importance of Family

In 'To Live', family is portrayed as a source of strength and comfort. Despite the trials and tribulations, Fugui's love for his family never wavers. This book reminds us to cherish our loved ones and the precious moments we share with them.

The Impact of Political Turmoil

The book provides a glimpse into the tumultuous period of China's history, from the Civil War to the Cultural Revolution. It shows how political upheaval can drastically affect ordinary people's lives. It's a great read if you're interested in exploring the intersection of personal stories and historical events.

The Value of Simplicity

Fugui, once a wealthy man, loses everything and learns to appreciate the simple joys of life. 'To Live' teaches us that happiness doesn't come from material possessions but from contentment and peace of mind.

The Reality of Mortality

Death is a recurring theme in 'To Live'. Yu Hua uses it to remind us of our mortality and the transient nature of life. This book encourages us to live each day to the fullest and make the most of the time we have.


Scott Young

Scott Young


To Live found in libraries

372 books

Best History Books

Learn about the history of your nation and the entire world with the Best History Books you can find.