I've begun to read a novel called Brothers, by Chinese author Yu Hua (2005). This is a hell of a thick book--much thicker than I thought when I bought it; for, you see, books in Indonesian stores are sold wrapped in plastic, such that one cannot examine the text or sample the material before purchasing. Given the mere size of the book, I figured that the inside print would be large. Wrong. The print on these 700+ pages is tiny, and fills the page from top to bottom. The book itself is heavy enough to build muscles.
That said, I will say as well that I am enjoying this story immensely, having gnawed through the first 100 pages or so. It is a comic, picaresque novel in the classic style, rather like Dickens' Pickwick papers or Fielding's Tom Jones. I'm reading it in Indonesian, and I suspect (though I don't know any Chinese) that the language retains a certain eastern character that may not come across in English, which, for all its complexity and nuance, sometimes comes out blunt and overly direct in turn of phrase. In other words, there is an Asian manner of speaking that is most faithfully rendered in an Asian language. Of course, it would be best of all to read the thing in Chinese, but, as I say, I know no Chinese whatsoever.
This is one of those books that you kind of live over the extended time it takes to read it. You get to know the characters, carry them along with you, wonder what they will do next--the same sort of feeling you have when you are reading something like David Copperfield or War and Peace or Les Miserables.
So this will be part of my life for some time to come.