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Author Interview: Donald N. Clark

Donald N. Clark, a leading figure in Korean Studies, is that rare breed of academic able to write broadly, write well, and for the general public. His books include Christianity in Modern Korea, Korea in World History, and Living Dangerously in Korea: The Western Experience 1900-1950. Although recently retired from teaching at Trinity University [...]

The Green Phoenix • Alice Poon

Taking us from the Mongolian steppes to China’s imperial court, The Green Phoenix is an epic historical novel chronicling the life of a remarkable woman who shaped the founding decades of the Qing dynasty. In 1625 twelve-year-old Mongol Princess Bumbutai becomes a consort of Hong Taiji, soon to be the [...]

A Taipei Mutt • Eric Mader

I started the book with the question “What the hell is this?” and finished it with the question “What the hell have I just read?” To describe Eric Mader’s engrossing, fearless novel as extremely unusual doesn’t come close. A Taipei Mutt is a difficult book to make sense of, to [...]

Katsuren: An Okinawan love story • Celine Nisaragi

In this charming low-key romance between a young American woman archaeologist and a Japanese journalist, the Okinawan settings come to life as characters in their own right. There are the ruins of Katsuren Castle, giving the novel its title, and the remote island of Yonaguni, especially fascinating to a Taiwan [...]

The Unquiet Daughter • Danielle Flood   

My favourite book of the year, The Unquiet Daughter is a beautifully written, big-hearted memoir of a daughter’s search for her biological father. Danielle Flood was born in Saigon in 1951 but grew up in the United States, where her parents divorced when she was eight. Four years later her [...]

Author Interview: Brian Burke-Gaffney

Brian Burke-Gaffney is the leading Western expert on the history of Nagasaki and one of the most prolific foreign writers in Japan. A second-generation Canadian from Winnipeg, Burke-Gaffney first came to Japan in 1972 and trained for nine years as a Zen monk. A resident of Nagasaki since 1982, he has [...]

Generation HK: Seeking Identity in China’s Shadow • Ben Bland

Generation HK is a fantastic read for anyone interested in contemporary Hong Kong or Taiwan. The former British colony is a weathervane – or supposed showcase – for Taiwan’s prospective future under the loving embrace of Motherland China’s “one country, two systems” principle. Unfortunate then that the PRC is like [...]

Bloody Saturday: Shanghai’s Darkest Day • Paul French

When did the Second World War begin? The conventional date is September 1, 1939, with Nazi Germany’s invasion of Poland and the subsequent declarations of war by France and the United Kingdom on the third of the month. However, with a growing appreciation for China’s important wartime role, historians are increasingly looking to the Second Sino-Japanese [...]