Review #26: Hard Like Water

This is a book I’ve been sitting on for some time. I’m not sure why. I’ve enjoyed Yan Lianke’s previous books – those that I’ve read (Serve the People!, The Explosion Chronicles) have been smart, readable and memorable satires on the Revolutionary period. I loved the cover art and design for Hard Like Water (堅硬如水)Continue reading “Review #26: Hard Like Water”

Reviews #19-25: Bumper Spring Historical Fiction Special!

It’s funny how easy it is to break a habit and how hard it is to get it back. I’ve been a regular, consistent reader for years, but I had not opened a book for several months until earlier this week after an upsetting personal period. I had the idea to do a bumper ‘round-up’Continue reading “Reviews #19-25: Bumper Spring Historical Fiction Special!”

Review #17: Monkey King

Look who’s back! Occasionally I reflect just what an elegant and complementary group the Big Four Classic Novels are. I generally don’t like anything so reductive and it always feels a bit rough on those great works that don’t make the cut, but aren’t they just a perfect little group, covering the breadth of (proto-)genres?Continue reading “Review #17: Monkey King”

Review #15: Becoming Inspector Chen

We meet again, Inspector Chen, you frustrating enigma. When Qiu Xiaolong’s first Inspector Chen book was released I was beside myself with excitement. It promised everything that a young man fascinated by China, prone to pretentiousness, and steeped in British TV crime dramas could possibly want! Crime mystery, set in China, loaded with Chinese poetryContinue reading “Review #15: Becoming Inspector Chen”

Review #12: Little Gods

After White Ivy, I’ve unexpectedly stumbled upon a perfect double bill. If I’d had a bit more foresight I could have hold on and made this a dual review. This week I’ve been reading Meng Jin’s Little Gods; another debut novel by a Chinese-American writer, with a young female Chinese-American protagonist exploring and understanding herContinue reading “Review #12: Little Gods”