Notes on: A Suitable Baoyu

This Sunday, the latest BBC literary adaptation, Vikram Seth’s A Suitable Boy, starts in the UK. I can’t wait. Even the slight disappointment of the recent The Luminaries – another favourite doorstop book of mine – doesn’t dampen my enthusiasm. A Suitable Boy is such a beautiful, complete world of a book. So why isContinue reading “Notes on: A Suitable Baoyu”

Review #8: The Bird in the Bamboo Cage

Historical fiction, of all periods and persuasions, has become my go-to genre fiction comfort reading. So, given my love of Chinese literature, there is a sweet spot in the Venn diagram of historical fiction set in China, which is a surprisingly rare occurrence. Most historical fiction, in the UK at least, falls into a handfulContinue reading “Review #8: The Bird in the Bamboo Cage”

Review #6: Three Tigers, One Mountain

I’ve taken a short reading break recently – on top of the relentless day-after-day piling on of terrible news, I have a very small baby and returned to work, so reading for pleasure without instantly nodding off has been challenging. Whether it’s the lockdown or the lack of sleep, my brain has been drifting abroadContinue reading “Review #6: Three Tigers, One Mountain”

Review #5: A Lover’s Discourse

I wasn’t best disposed to Xiaolu Guo’s new novel A Lover’s Discourse from the outset. It opens with a quote from Roland Barthes, with whose work it shares a title. Oh God, Barthes – didn’t I read him for my Master’s? Am I really up for a book that opens with a Barthes quote? AmContinue reading “Review #5: A Lover’s Discourse”

Review #2: I Live In The Slums

The best books I own release deep emotional memories when I handle them, or see them on my shelves. Whether a pang of longing, or a pleased satisfaction of a compelling plot, they tap into something deep-seated in my emotional being. Whenever I catch a glimpse of the first Can Xue book I read –Continue reading “Review #2: I Live In The Slums”