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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 [...]

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 [...]

Author Interview: Ray Hecht

Ray Hecht was born in Israel, raised in the American Midwest, and lived in China for many years. He now calls Taiwan home. He’s written seven books, including South China Morning Blues (published by Blacksmith Books and reviewed on Bookish Asia back in 2015). His latest work is Always Goodbye, an [...]

Finding the Way: A Novel of Lao Tzu • Wayne Ng

Finding the Way is an audacious novel. It takes some courage to pen a fictional life of such a revered figure as Laozi. He is, after all, a much loved philosopher considered to be the founder of Taoism, and sometimes even worshipped as a deity (my wife’s family actually has a temple [...]