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 […]

Author Interview: Eric Mader

By |June 21st, 2018|

Arthur Meursault, author of Party Members, talks with Eric Mader, an American expat writer working in Taiwan. Mader’s published works include A Taipei Mutt (2002) and more recently Idiocy, Ltd., which has been translated into Chinese.

This Author Interview is by far the longest we’ve had on Bookish Asia so I’ve switched from having bold […]

Nuclear Blues • Bradley K. Martin

By |June 11th, 2018|

Why switch from writing non-fiction to fiction, especially when you’ve spent decades working as a journalist and your last book was Under the Loving Care of the Fatherly Leader, the acclaimed 2006 portrait of North Korea’s dictators Kim Il-Sung and Kim Jong-Il? One advantage of fiction is that it is […]