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Formosa Moon • Joshua Samuel Brown and Stephanie Huffman

When writing a travel book, you ideally want some kind of framework; whether it’s a river journey from source to mouth, the seasons of a year, retracing an explorer’s footsteps, or a pilgrimage to religious sites, you want something to hold the whole together. Formosa Moon has the brilliant setup […]

By |June 6th, 2018|Uncategorised|0 Comments

A Hero Born • Jin Yong (translated by Anna Holmwood)

Opening Anna Holmwood’s deft translation of A Hero Born, a prefatory list of characters promises the delights waiting within. Skyfury Guo, The Seven Freaks of the South, Quick Hands Zhu Cong the Intelligent, and Twice Foul Dark Wind stand poised to jump-kick readers into a rich, thrilling, sometimes whacky world.

A […]

By |May 31st, 2018|Uncategorised|0 Comments

Bury What We Cannot Take • Kirstin Chen

Kirstin Chen’s novel Bury What We Cannot Take unfolds like a dream sequence, following the fictional fortunes of a southern Chinese family torn apart in 1957, eight years after the Communists’ victory and on the cusp of the Great Leap Forward. The violence and trauma visited upon millions of innocent Chinese […]

By |May 24th, 2018|Uncategorised|0 Comments

The Food of Taiwan: Recipes from the Beautiful Island • Cathy Erway

The standout successful English-language book about Taiwan in recent years – well, other than the perennial chart-topping Lonely Planet travel guide – has been Cathy Erway’s The Food of Taiwan: Recipes from the Beautiful Island. Normally I would read such a bestseller right away, if not from interest, then at […]

By |April 25th, 2018|Uncategorised|0 Comments

Ghost Month: A Taipei Night Market Novel • Ed Lin

 

Ed Lin’s Ghost Month (2014) incorporates several quintessential Taiwanese elements – religious superstitions, gangsters, night markets, and betel-nut girls – into a murder mystery. It’s set during the seventh month of the Chinese calendar (typically falling in August), a time when the dead roam the world of the living. The spirits […]

By |April 23rd, 2018|Uncategorised|0 Comments

Flight to Formosa • Frank Clune

In the years after China’s “Liberation” (as an aside, China’s “liberation” should always be used with quotation marks) a steady stream of leftist visitors paid court to Mao Zedong’s PRC and came away enthusiastically repeating CCP propaganda. Likewise, there were many “useful idiots” on the right who returned from stage-managed […]

By |April 23rd, 2018|Uncategorised|0 Comments

Taiwan: A Travel Guide for Vegans • Jesse Duffield

Taiwanese Nazis? That’s sometimes the initial confused impression visitors get when seeing a shop sign swastika. The visitor soon reads or is told that it’s an ancient Buddhist symbol (which Hitler reversed) and it is associated with vegetarian restaurants: find a reversed swastika and you’ve found yourself vegetarian food. However, […]

By |April 21st, 2018|Uncategorised|0 Comments

City of Devils: A Shanghai Noir • Paul French

City of Devils: A Shanghai Noir is a masterpiece, one that could probably only have been written by Paul French. This narrative non-fiction account of Western gangsters in 1930s Shanghai is I think his best work – even better than Midnight in Peking, which was an investigation into the unsolved […]

By |April 9th, 2018|Uncategorised|0 Comments

The Accidental Citizen-Soldier: The Story of an American in the Korean Army • Young Chun

For many of us expats, a trip to the immigration office can be stressful. Apart from the hassle of paperwork, there’s always the possibility of some nasty little surprise – a new regulation, a bureaucratic screw-up, an obscure regulation unknowingly violated – which results in you rushing off to get […]

By |April 4th, 2018|Uncategorised|0 Comments

Shanghai Lawyer • Norwood F. Allman

Shanghai Lawyer. It’s an uninspiring title and even the author’s name – Norwood F. Allman – has the dullness of an accountant about it. But Allman was very much more than just a lawyer, and his memoir is one of my all-time favourites. For breadth and depth of experience during […]

By |March 9th, 2018|Uncategorised|0 Comments