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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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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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Visiting the Nanjing Massacre and Zheng He Memorials (China)

Where is Nanjing? Nanjing is home to more than 7 million people, a modest population by Chinese standards. But with its proximity to the mountains and the Yangtze river, the city can feel like a cozy town compared to the all-pervasive presence of people and concrete in Shanghai. Which is ridiculous, because “cozy town” has …

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