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Literature

Review: The Three Body Problem by Cixin Liu

“In science fiction, humanity is often described as a collective. In this book, a man named ‘humanity’ confronts a disaster, and everything he demonstrates in the face of existence and annihilation undoubtedly has sources in the reality that I experienced.”  – Cixin Liu, author’s note, The Three Body Problem The Three Body Problem poses questions that are familiar …

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Review: Dear Friend, from My Life I Write to You in Your Life by Yiyun Li

In an interview with fivebooks.com, Yiyun Li discussed the concept of the ‘anti-memoir’. This term came around because, as Li put it in the interview, “[…] there has to be a ‘before’ and an ‘after’ – an epiphany. But to me, all these things are artificial. Life is lived in a much messier way.” This …

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Review: The Accusation by Bandi

It is difficult to know where to start when discussing a book like The Accusation. Smuggled one by one out of North Korea and into China as scribbled manuscripts, and here collected at last as a gorgeous hardcopy. Bandi’s collection of short stories, The Accusation, is not just a valuable insight into ordinary (read: terrifying) …

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How Jung Chang’s ‘Wild Swans’ Made Me A Better Laowai

Before I lived in Tokyo and Seoul, I lived in Shanghai. Expats and locals alike in Tokyo and Seoul have joked with me more than once about the harshness of Chinese culture and the unpleasantness of life there; jokes such as: ‘On the Seoul subway, keep your voice down. You don’t want to be a …

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Interview with Young-Im Lee, Author of Forgotten Reflections: A War Story

Forgotten Reflections is a tale of survival and the ability to flourish through adversity during a devastating period of modern Korean history: The Korean War. Young-Im Lee has painted a truly staggering and diverse world that seems entirely removed from the modern day, and yet is immediately recognisable. I had the opportunity to get in …

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Review: The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Murakami

“I leaned my head against the wall and closed my eyes. May Kasahara was probably right. This person, this self, this me, was made somewhere else. Everything had come from somewhere else, and it would all go somewhere else. I was nothing but a pathway for the person known as me Even I know that …

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Review: Strange Weather in Tokyo by Hiromi Kawakami

Strange Weather in Tokyo is a cultural examination of post-war Japan packaged into a touching, life-affirming love story for the ages. The twentieth century, and the end of World War II, saw a global shift in culture, technology, and economics never before experienced. One of the places hit hardest by this was Japan, which previously had …

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