Soul Mountain (Chinese: 灵山; pinyin: língshān) is a novel by the Chinese writer Gao Xingjian. It was first published in Chinese in Taipei in 1990. The novel is loosely based on the author's journey in rural China, which was inspired by a false diagnosis of lung cancer. The novel is a part autobiographical, part fictional account of a man's journey to find the fabled mountain Lingshan. It is a combination of story fragments, travel accounts, unnamed characters (referred to by the pronouns "I", "you", "she", etc.), and folk poetry/legends. An English version translated by Mabel Lee was published in the United States on December 5, 2000.
The first of the two characters to be introduced is "You". He is described as a local tourist---"not that sort of tourist" but a backpacking one "wearing strong sensible sports shoes and a backpack with shoulder straps". He seeks out the elusive Lingshan, a sacred mountain.
"You" has long lived in the city, but yearns for a rural existence from the past He shuns the idea of settling for "a peaceful and stable existence" where one wants to "find a not-too-demanding sort of a job, stay in a mediocre position, become a husband and a father, set up a