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Lust & Philosophy • Isham Cook 

Reviewed by Frank Beyer.  This novel details the life of Isham Cook, pen name of an American writer who has lived in Beijing for many years. It isn’t a straightforward read; Lust & Philosophy follows Isham through a number of coming of age experiences in different countries and they’re not in [...]

Tales of Ming Courtesans • Alice Poon

Tales of Ming Courtesans is a moving story about the strength of female friendships. The novel, set in the tumultuous last years of the Ming dynasty, follows the fortunes of three girls, all victims of the flesh trade, who, through their beauty and talents, become celebrated courtesans. They form a sworn sisterhood [...]

I Beheld the Mountains • Joseph and Wilhelmina Payne

On a bitterly cold December morning in 1932, in the frontier city of Kalgan (Zhangjiakou), which lies about two hundred kilometers northwest of Peking, a young protestant missionary couple passed through the chaotic city streets and gates. In two horse-drawn carts, they joined a caravan of camels and carts wending [...]

Western Queers in China: Flight to the Land of Oz • D.E. Mungello

I was recently working on a book chapter about Western authors who had lived in pre-communist Peking – the likes of Edmund Backhouse, George Kates, Harold Acton, David Kidd – and I was struggling to come up with an interesting frame. Rather than a straightforward series of  chronological biographies, I [...]

All Flowers Bloom • Kawika Guillermo

All Flowers Bloom, written by Kawika Guillermo and published by Westphalia Press, is a book that is difficult to define, let alone review. It is ostensibly a novel, classified as queer speculative fiction, but there is not exactly a plot to follow. At least, there is not just one plot [...]

Nonlocal: Youth and Night • Christophe Bolduc

Nonlocal, an intense, quirky work of literary fiction, is the story of two men a generation apart in age, and how their lives interact and their stories overlap and echo. There is Korean American Kohlhaas, who I assume is about eighteen years old, straddling two identities (American and Korean), at [...]

Confucius and Opium • Isham Cook

Even among the rich cast of China’s expat irregulars, Isham Cook stands out for his idiosyncrasy. Thankfully, it’s the eccentricity of the intelligent iconoclast, and his often incendiary writing has both substance and style. Cook is a libertarian – of the drugs and sexual freedom bent rather than the guns [...]

Author Interview: John Groot

............ John Groot is the author of Taiwanese Feet: My Walk Around Taiwan. Originally from Canada, since 2001 he has lived in Taiwan. To supplement his travel writing, he teaches English and international communication skills to computer industry workers. From his adopted hometown of Tamsui, New Taipei City, where he lives [...]

Maritime Ryukyu, 1050-1650 • Gregory Smits

I’ve always taken Napoleon’s side when it comes to the Ryukyu Islands of Japan. No, his ambitions never extended that far east. I’m referring to an 1817 conversation Napoleon – then a captive on the lonely island of Saint Helena – had with British naval officer Captain Basil Hall. As [...]