A Death in Peking: Who Really Killed Pamela Werner? • Graeme Sheppard

By |November 1st, 2018|

I first came across Graeme Sheppard’s book last year, only it was an earlier version: Life & Death in Old Peking: The Murder of Pamela Werner. As one of the chaps behind independent publisher Camphor Press, I’m always on the outlook for new titles. Every so often I trawl through the […]

Author Interview: Katy Hui-wen Hung

By |October 18th, 2018|

Katy Hui-wen Hung is co-author of A Culinary History of Taipei: Beyond Pork and Ponlai. Co-written with veteran Taiwan writer Steven Crook and published by Rowman & Littlefield, the book is a landmark work, one of the most significant English-language titles on Taiwan published in the last decade.

I always have trouble […]

The Stolen Bicycle • Wu Ming-Yi

By |September 16th, 2018|

Where I live, a bicycle is a necessity of life. It’s the only sensible way to get around a city like Amsterdam with its winding canals and ditto streets. Everyone here rides: men in three-piece suits, women in stiletto heels and kids on their way to school.

Bikes are the main characters […]

CD Review: Xian Xinghai’s Production Cantata

By |September 13th, 2018|

Eight decades after the premiere of Xian Xinghai’s Production Cantata, this forgotten masterpiece from China’s first great modern composer has not only been finally recorded for the very first time but given the recording perfection it deserves. The Production Cantata was first performed on March 21, 1939, in Yan’an, the “Red […]

Lucky Girl • Mei-ling Hopgood

By |July 24th, 2018|

Of the handful of Taiwan adoption memoirs, the stand-out is Lucky Girl (2010) by journalist Mei-ling Hopgood.

Mei-ling was adopted in 1974 from Taitung, in the then relatively remote southeast of Taiwan, by an American couple from Michigan. She had a happy childhood, with two adopted boys from South Korea as playmates and […]

The Science of War: Sun Tzu’s “Art of War” Re-translated and Re-considered • Christopher MacDonald

By |July 13th, 2018|

The Chinese classic The Art of War is one of those works whose adaptability and universality, coupled with its ancient Asian mystique, lends itself to superficial referencing, no more clearly seen than in the myriad of book spin-offs; there’s an Art of War for small businesses, women in business, managers, writers, […]

Stamped: An Anti-Travel Novel • Kawika Guillermo

By |July 13th, 2018|

The striking originality of this novel starts with the sub-title. What to make of the declaration (warning?) that this is an “anti-travel novel”? The story takes us on a roll call of Asian travel destinations – Bangkok, Vientiane, Shanghai
, Hanoi, Phnom Penh, Hong Kong, Manila, Jakarta, Bali, Seoul, Mumbai
, Kolkata, […]

The Wounded Muse • Robert F. Delaney

By |July 12th, 2018|

The Wounded Muse is an exciting yet grounded thriller set in Beijing during the years leading up to the 2008 Olympics. It’s a wonderful setting in time and place; here was the People’s Republic of China getting ready to celebrate its arrival on the world stage as a great power. Beijing […]

Author Interview: Tonio Andrade

By |June 22nd, 2018|

Tonio Andrade, one of the best historians currently teaching and writing about East Asia,  is a history professor at Emory University (Atlanta) and the author of three outstanding works: How Taiwan Became Chinese (2008), Lost Colony (2011), and The Gunpowder Age (2016). Lost Colony examines the epic clash between Koxinga’s Chinese forces […]

Palm-of-the-Hand Stories • Kawabata Yasunari   

By |June 21st, 2018|

Reviewed by Karen Kao

Kawabata Yasunari was born in 1899 and committed suicide in 1972. He watched Japan open itself to the world, indulge in dreams of empire and survive the ensuing firestorm. His characters were ordinary people: prostitutes, abandoned wives and children. He won the Nobel Prize for Literature in […]