Charlie Reads China

Books about China

Reviews, articles, thoughts about recent fiction and other works


Review #29-30: The Amur River / Black Dragon River

Readers of Chinese history are used to the idea of it as a civilisation shaped by water – not least thanks to Philip Ball’s The Water Kingdom – and dominated by two great rivers in particular. But there is a third to the far north which – currently – forms part of the border with…

Review #28: China After Mao

This review appeared in the November 2022 edition of the Critic magazine Dutch historian Frank Dikötter’s works on Mao, the “People’s Trilogy”, have rightly garnered superlative praise. Through painstaking work in increasingly inaccessible provincial archives, he has documented the horrors of Mao’s rule, made only more chilling through Dikötter’s calm, clear prose and methodical process.  Readers need…

Review #27: The Emperor’s Feast

I am not a particularly zealous foodie. The meals my mind reaches back to for solace seem to be more about quantity than quality (I have my own issues there), or memorable for some other reason: the disastrous, Pinter-worthy birthday dinner party; the time we were being boisterously rude about James Corden at the Ivy…