Shanghai Girls, or Shanghaied Girls?

People say, never judge a book by its cover. I have always judged contemporary novels by their covers. I trust that the penetrating market research and sensitive designs of today would somehow bring out the essence of the book on its dust jacket. This philosophy has mostly stood me in good stead (I’m talking about the hardback cover, there’s of course the paperback edition, mass market paperback edition etc… but I digress). This time, however, I feel I’ve been deceived.


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Survivor’s Guide to Water Margin

Back in 2008, I was living in Beijing. As you may expect, my Chinese literature course at the CUN involved reading the four cornerstones of Chinese literature (their resemblance to actual stones is remarkable). Having grown up in the UK I was glad to have the opportunity finally to read these works of the 14th and 15th centuries that have had such wide-ranging influence over Chinese culture ever since. So I was tricked by the professor into finishing two of these chunky works in six weeks. I thoroughly enjoyed Romance of Three Kingdoms, but little did I know what I was getting myself into with Outlaws of the Marsh, or Water Margin.


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Gold Boy, Emerald Girl: A Cross Section of 21st Century China

Golden Boy, Emerald Girl is the second collection of stories from acclaimed author Yiyun Li. Each separate story has previously been printed in different American and British newspapers. It makes perfect sense for the nine stories, all slices to urban oddities in modern China, to be collected in a single volume. With subject matters such as internet, social media, divorce, child adoption, child abduction and homosexuality, there is no mistaking their 21st century backdrop.


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