The Fifth Book Of Peace by Maxine Hong Kingston

The Fifth Book Of Peace

By the author of the bestselling The Woman Warrior, a magical book: a literature of peace built on the stories of war. Divided into four sections - 'Fire', 'Paper', 'Water' and 'Earth' - this book is neither fiction nor autobiography nor memoir, but a unique form of Chinese 'talk-story' in which real and imagined worlds intrude upon and enrich one another. From the anti-war protests in Hawaii to Kingston's own conversations with Vietnam veterans,...

Details The Fifth Book Of Peace

TitleThe Fifth Book Of Peace
Release DateNov 4th, 2004
GenreAutobiography, Memoir, Biography, Nonfiction, Cultural, China, Literature

Reviews The Fifth Book Of Peace

  • Jenny Shipp
    This book just took me in. It starts out with the fire in the Oakland Hills. She is coming home from her father's funeral and finds the hills and her home on fire. she loses the first hundred or so pages of a book she was writing. the middle of the book is her attempt to recreate that story. the rest of the book is about a writing group she begins for veterans of war. It is moving and much of it is what she says about writing, and going deeper an...
  • jo
    i find this book amazing beyond words. if i had written it, i would think that my life work is done and i'd start preparing for death. okay, this is way too morbid. let me just say that i read this book at a point in my life when life really sucked, and by the time i finished it life was a large, generous, calm river teeming with colorful boats, peace, and possibilities.i taught it and no one liked it. there must be truly few of us who find this ...
  • Ashanti Miller
    Unstructured, but good. You really have to be in the mood for a meandereing story. The first part is great, but you will need a glass wone wine to slow your mind down to appreciate the rest of the book lest you miss all the hidden treasures. Whittman Ah Sing has always been difficult to fathom, yet strangley compelling. Crafty monkey...
  • Sharon Villainelle
    This might well be my favorite of Kingston's works, and that's saying a great deal. Her language is simultaneously lyrical and grounded, a perfect weaving for a narrative that is itself a patchwork of truth and fiction. She examines themes of loss and resurrection, peace and turmoil, object and idea. In short, it is a work that examines the space where oppositions come together to create life.
  • Janet
    I thought I would enjoy this book more than I did, but it began to feel so much like a vanity piece that I put it aside and read something else for a week. Just reading the first chapter was such a slog, I am doing something I rarely do and that is to give up on it.
  • Chris
    This is an oddly constructed memoir. It required a lot of patience to trust Kingston and follow her through the first three sections of this book: Fire, Paper, and Water. But trust me when I tell you that the final section title "Earth" makes it all worth it. I feel like Vintage Books did Kingston a huge disservice in the summaries they provide of each of the sections. Or perhaps they are Kingston's summaries, but they don't accurately reflect th...
  • Ruth
    I am developing a mental category for lesser books of great writers. It made me want to go back and read The Woman Warrior and Tripmaster Monkey. Well, the beginning of the book made me want to go back and read more of Maxine Hong Kingston. The second and third sections weren't as strong. The first part is Kingston's memoir of losing her house to a terrible fire right as she was coming back from funeral rituals for her father. It was strongly emo...
  • Angela
    I am calling it read but I only skimmed through a lot of it. The Water section I almost skipped entirely. I love Woman Warrior but could not get into this book. Its style is sort of stream of consciousness so maybe I was not in the right frame of mind. I enjoyed the first part, about the fire and losing her father and her family but then it started to not make sense and was difficult to read. I gave it a 3 because I like her and the overall conce...
  • Chad
    SPOILER ALERT: This is the last paragraph in the book. I am not the type of person to read the last page first, but I think this is so beautiful I had to share it and I don't think it spoils anything about the rest of the book."Children, everybody, here's what to do during war: In a time of destruction, create something. A poem. A parade. A community. A school. A vow. A moral principle. One peaceful moment."-Maxine Hong Kingston
  • Beth
    In this memoir, Kingston describes suffering through a California wildfire that destroyed her home and all of her work on a new book. Devastated, she goes to stay with her mother and reminisces as well as philosophies. It is a well done book with many thought-provoking ideas. It is not light reading, but I felt it was definitely worth the effort.
  • Eemilla
    The long middle section was trying, especially after reading the preceding sections. The final section was a relief following the middle.
  • Philippa
    Review published in the New Zealand Herald, November 2003The Fifth Book of PeaceMaxine Hong Kingston(Secker & Warburg, $34.95)Reviewed by Philippa JamiesonThis is a book to read in large chunks. A few pages before bed makes it hard to get into. Don’t expect a plot. Don't expect a novel, or autobiography, or memoir – it's the Chinese form of 'talk-story', a collage of mythical, real and imaginary worlds.Maxine Hong Kingston searches in vai R...
  • Lanie
    I met Maxine at a post-play party and a few days later, while taking shelter from the pouring rain in the SF public library, this book seemed to jump off the shelf. It was the perfect time in my life to find the book.She was working on the "4th Book of Peace" for years, and then the entire manuscript was burned in the Oakland fires. The first chapter, her description of running through the hills, trying to save her book, is impossible to put down...
  • Susan Emmet
    Reread this book after years away from it. I so liked The Woman Warrior and this novel/memoir is one fine book, too. Kingston takes readers into the loss of her home in Oakland CA, prey to a huge wildfire. She tries to recover treasured family items, as well as the draft of The Fourth Book of Peace, to little avail. A professor at Berkeley, she finds some comfort in friends and family, but is determined to find the Book of Peace. The next segment...
  • Helen
    The Fifth Book of Peace is split into four parts, Fire, Paper, Water, and Earth. The first two sections and the last chronicle Kingston's journey from her house burning down with her unfinished manuscript for a novel entitled the Fifth Book of Peace, and how this loss inspired her to create a writer's workshop for war veterans, specifically of the Vietnam War, to write their own books of peace. These are great, the writing is interesting, the sto...
  • Parag
    I have stories to tell about this book, which I'll spare for now. But I found this book for $1 on the shelves of a bookstore in the Poconos, bought a few copies, and have dispersed them hence. There's something about the combination of fiction and non-fiction in this particular book, from the story of how Kingston lost the book she was writing in the flames of the Oakland fire that consumed her house to how she was coping with her father's death ...
  • A
    Although all of Kingston's books have had an impact on me, this had the greatest. Maybe it's because I grew up in Oakland, and although I didn't live there when the fire happened, the area is familiar to me, as Stockton, where she had been to her father's funeral. The book is about loss and not really re-birth, but re-finding. She takes a journey with Vietnam Veterans and they all discover something within themselves. It became very emotional for...
  • Maggie
    Interesting combination of fiction and memoir from a Berkeley professor who lost her home in the Berkley/Oakland Hills fire in 1991 as well as the book she was writing at the time - "The Fourth Book of Peace". Here she recreates the history of the original 3 books of Peace, the fictional story of the Fourth Book and her experience working for peace as she conducts writing workshops for veterans and incorporates mindfulness meditation, Buddhist tr...
  • Darceylaine
    This book is really 3 booksthe book of how she lost her book in the Oakland Firethe book re-written (our heros from Tripmaster Monkey)and the book of her work with veterans.She is very wise and her brain works in some of the strange ways mine does, and my friends and colleagues from the Bay Area. But sadly she writes in one long constant steady rhythm that lulls me to sleep and makes it hard to finish all 400 pages. I'm always glad when I read a ...
  • Jennifer
    This is a book about war and peace and loss. I'd read other books by this author and saw this one, which starts out with her losing the novel she'd been writing. Her house burned down, her whole neighborhood burned down. The book is about the fire and the process of rewriting the lost book, with the rewritten book included. The writing has magical elements. It's a really compelling book that made me think a lot about war and peace and what it mea...
  • David
    So far, not bad. I have been a Kingston fan ever since The Woman Warrior , and in this newest book she still straddles that terrifyingly blurry line between fiction and nonfiction. Her narrator tends to wander to and from matters of her family, literature, opposition the 1991 Gulf War...but the writing is strong, literary and engaging. I look forward to seeing where she goes with this.
  • Leigh
    One section of this is fictional and takes place in Hawaii during the Vietnam War. The rest is non-fiction and discusses ideas of peace, community and loss. She talks about the loss of her house and manuscript to a fire in Oakland. Also her involvement with a combination creative writing and meditation workshop with Vietnam veterans. Her writing is so different - fragmented and trippy, but still graceful and powerful.
  • The Amazing Jill
    I got to have lunch with the author, actually.But anyway, this is really good. Mrs. Kingston has a very strange and yet unique style of writing. Her sentences are sometimes short, brief, yet meant to provoke a pause for thought. You'll pause quite often to think with this book. We need more books of peace. Go write one.
  • Ellen
    I don't think I actually finished this book, but it's still relatively memorable, years later. I believe that I read it fairly close to the time I read The Opposite of Fate, a memoir by Amy Tan. They melded together in an interesting way. Different stories, common threads.
  • Kate
    This book has been incredible for me to read. It's achingly beautiful and carries such a strong message of peace. Peace in a deeper way than I have ever understood peace. Please read this book. Especially in this time of war, we need this book.
  • Venessa
    A beautiful book: Kingston's book was destroyed in a fire that swept her home in CA and she recreates it in this book, separated into five different parts. Also comments on the current Iraq War, and peace.
  • Leslie
    a memoir that fits in nicly with my current reading list of books about China. She refers to aspects of Chinese history - that I leared about recently. There is a reason to read in depth - new information soon becomes comfortable, old information.
  • Valerie
    2.5 stars. Hong Kingston is a wonderful writer, and she does talk story so artfully. Her message is compelling and the descriptions of loss are profound, but the disorganization of the book detracts greatly from this.