Tuesday, September 15, 2015

A Graceful Swordsman - Gu Long

First published in 1966, this book had a very good plot. I myself like this one better than Little Li's Flying Dagger, so this is my 3rd favorite among all Gu Long works I have read. [No.1 The Legend of Coh Liu-hiang, No.2 The Remarkable Twins].

Ji Hong-ho - the chief of Bu-kek-pay - had retired from the martial arts world. His only son, a young man named Ji Pwe-giok, was the hero in this story. Ji Pwe-giok saw his father being murdered in front of him. Soon after that, his fianceé Lim Tay-ih came to tell him that her own father and 4 of his friends - each of them first class swordsman - had also been murdered. However, those 5 people who Lim Tay-ih had said had been dead, came to Ji Pwe-giok's house - all alive - and it seemed his father had not been dead as well.

Ji Pwe-giok thought he went crazy. None believed his story and Lim Tay-ih also denied what she had said before. In desperation, Ji Pwe-giok ran from them and went to the big meeting of the 13 clans (Shaolin, Butong, Hoasan etc) [with Bu-kek-pay, all were 14 clans, but since Ji Hong-ho had retired, originally only 13 clans had been scheduled to attend the meeting.] in Hong-ti, hoping to find an answer. On his way to Hong-ti, Ji Pwe-giok made friends with the Beggar's Clan's chief, who would be a great help to him in the future.

In the Hong-ti meeting, the fake Ji Hong-ho were chosen to be the chief of the martial arts world. [The real Ji Hong-ho was the initiator of the first Hong-ti meeting 70 years ago, so this old man was very respected. I don't know if the '70 years ago' was mistranslated. Even if Ji Hong-ho was 20 years old then, that made him 90 years old in the beginning of his story. I'd like to think Ji Pwe-gion's age was 25 years old. The book only said that he was 'a young man'. But probably he was younger, perhaps 18 years old. He had never met his fianceé at the beginning of the story and not much older than Cu Lui-ji who was 11-12 years old.]

With the power given to him, fake Ji Hong-ho was now the most powerful man in the martial arts world. The 13 clans were ready to do what he commanded. Since Ji Pwe-giok was the only person who knew his secret, fake Ji Hong-ho wanted the young man dead.

Being slandered with the murder of two clans' chiefs and hunted by everyone, Ji Pwe-giok ran into Sat-jin-ceng, a place where one could freely kill another, no question asked. In this place, he met an old man who hid him and changed his face (=facial surgery) so he could go out and investigate the mystery behind his father's death. The old man gave him a perfect handsome face, which would soon got 2 cuts by a desperate young woman, despite what his 'friend' believed: "With a face like that, no woman will harm him."

The story in this book spanned 6 months and in his journey, Ji Pwe-giok met characters with higher and higher fighting skills, that in the middle of the book, the 13 clans chiefs were nothing. Ji Pwe-giok himself learned more and more martial arts, and with his patience and intelligence, in the end he finally could avenged his father's death, solved the mystery and cleaned his name.

I really liked the idea of how things started and enjoyed reading this book a lot. I almost couldn't put it down. Ji Pwe-giok was described as: polite, clever, attentive, patient, and meek; all these traits made me like him very much. The dialogues were funny at times and made me giggle. The way how a woman's face was compared to a wall, for example. Khu Lung wrote about it a couple of times that I began to think this was a common thought in China.

I read that the epilogue had been written by someone else (not Gu Long). Gu Long forgot several things, like: 1)Ji Pwe-giok's name had not been cleaned concerning the murder of Tong Bu-siang, Cia Thian-pi and the Kunlun's chief, and 2)Ji Pwe-giok's relationship with Lim Tay-ih. The epilogue given was enlightening, but I don't like how he ended up with three women as his wives.


Ron said...

Dulu suka banget baca novel wuxia begini, tetapi sekarang ga tau lagi mau cari dimana. :(

Inge Y said...

Di internet ada lho