Author Interview: Tim Symonds

By |March 30th, 2017|

Englishman Tim Symonds is the author of five Sherlock Holmes novels, most recently the highly enjoyable Sherlock Holmes and the Nine-Dragon Sigil, which takes Holmes and Watson to the Forbidden City in Peking during the last days of the Qing dynasty. 

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What does the “Nine-Dragon Sigil” in the book title refer […]

Author Interview: Joe Henley

By |March 23rd, 2017|

A Canadian freelance writer from Saskatchewan, Joe Henley has called Taipei home since graduating from journalism school in 2005. He is also a metal/punk musician and has written extensively about the music scene in Asia. His first novel, a thriller set in Taiwan called Sons of the Republic, was published in […]

India in the Chinese Imagination • John Kieschnick and Meier Shahar, eds.

By |March 5th, 2017|

In India in the Chinese Imagination, an excellent collection of essays published by the University of Pennsylvania Press, eleven scholars examine the way that Indian ideas have influenced the mythology, religion, and thought of China. The book is divided into three sections: Indian Mythology and the Chinese Imagination, India in […]

The Last Gods of Indochine • Samuel Ferrer

By |January 7th, 2017|

The ruins of Angkor are Southeast Asia’s most spectacular historical attraction. Still awe-inspiring despite the tourist hordes, they have inspired surprisingly few novels.

Angkor is the main setting for Samuel Ferrer’s The Last Gods of Indochine, a historical drama combining two storylines separated by six centuries; one story is set in […]

In Search of Japan’s Hidden Christians: A Story of Suppression, Secrecy and Survival • John Dougill

By |December 30th, 2016|

I read so many excellent books that it’s hard to name a favourite, but seeing as I so often ask people to recommend a book they’ve read recently and to also choose an all-time favourite, it’s only fair I answer these questions myself. My all-time pick is Nostromo, Joseph Conrad’s […]

Intruder in Mao’s Realm: An Englishman’s eyewitness account of 1970s China • Richard Kirkby

By |December 28th, 2016|

Ever visited places on your overseas travels and felt that you were ten or twenty years too late? I have, often, but not with China. I first went there in 1995 and it was bad enough; a decade or two earlier would have meant even dirtier toilets, even worse transportation, […]

Sherlock Holmes and the Nine-Dragon Sigil • Tim Symonds

By |December 24th, 2016|

Late at night and easing your way through a bottle, have you ever been blessed by a flash of literary genius? Perhaps an idea for a novel, let’s say, a Sherlock Holmes story set in Asia? Alas, you’re hardly halfway through the celebratory follow-up bottle when a few cursory internet […]

China and the New Maoists • Kerry Brown and Simone van Nieuwenhuizen

By |December 21st, 2016|

We’ve all seen pictures featuring the giant portrait of Mao Zedong in front of the Gate of Heavenly Peace overlooking Tiananmen Square. But this kind of imagery is surprisingly rare; one of the reasons that particular portrait is so overused is the lack of alternatives to photograph. Forty years after […]

A Very Late Gap Year in Taiwan • P.R. Travis

By |December 20th, 2016|

On Amazon (but not the book itself) this self-published teaching memoir has the subtitle: “I spent one year teaching ESL in Asia, so you don’t have to.” Similarly, a black-hearted reviewer might be tempted to write that he read the book so you don’t have to. However, my policy on […]

Lama of the Gobi: How Mongolia’s Mystic Monk Spread Tibetan Buddhism in the World’s Harshest Desert • Michael Kohn

By |December 18th, 2016|

Name three famous Mongolians. The first two are easy enough: Genghis Khan – arguably the most important man of the last millennium – and then his grandson Kublai Khan, but who else? Into this biographical void comes American journalist Michael Kohn’s Lama of the Gobi, bringing to life an extraordinary […]