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Review: Braised Pork by An Yu

Braised Pork is an unusual kind of debut. It’s a novel that’s been finely tuned, elegantly crafted, lovingly polished to a mirror sheen, and yet ultimately comes off feeling a little flat, never reaching the narrative or philosophical heights it hinted at from page one. As a work of literary craftsmanship, it’s a fantastic book …

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Review: Broken Stars – Chinese Science-Fiction

Here is a very rare kind of book that has such a weight of cultural importance that, even if it were bad (which it absolutely is not) it would still be worth buying and reading. Fortunately, beyond just being important, it’s also spectacular. Broken Stars is valuable in the scope of Chinese genre fiction. Literature …

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Review: A Bond Undone (Legends of the Condor Heroes 2)

When it was first announced that the epic book series Legends of the Condor Heroes known as the ‘Chinese Lord of the Rings’ was to be translated for the first time into English, I waited with bated breath for the first book to be released, translated by the impeccably talented Anna Holmwood. The book was …

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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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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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