Friday 23 September 2016

500 words from Arthur Meursault

500 words from…is an occasional series in which authors discuss their newly published books. Here Arthur Meursault, a long-term Asia expat, talks about Party Members, which satirises the contemporary Chinese attitude that to get rich is glorious, no matter who gets hurt in the process.

Deep within the heart of China, far from the glamour of Shanghai and Beijing, lies the every-city of Huaishi. This worker’s paradise of smog and concrete is home to Party Member Yang Wei, a mediocre man in a mediocre job. His life of bureaucratic monotony is shattered by an encounter with the advanced consumer goods he has long been deprived of. Aided by the cynical and malicious advice of an unlikely mentor, Yang Wei embarks on a journey of greed, corruption, and murder that takes him to the diseased underbelly of Chinese society. 

So, over to Arthur…

Tuesday 20 September 2016

Lion City Lit This Is Not a Safety Barrier / Lucía Damacela

Asian Books Blog is based in Singapore. Lion City Lit explores what is going on in the City-State lit-wise. Here Lucía Damacela attends the launch of This Is Not a Safety Barrier, a collection of 113 Singapore-inspired poems and photos from 69 contributors. This Is Not a Safety Barrier, edited by Marc Nair and Yen Phang, offers commentary that questions and challenges the physical and symbolic barriers erected in Singapore, a place constantly under construction. It is published by  Ethos Books.

Friday 16 September 2016

Lion City Lit: Uncle Rajah’s Flying Carpet Show

Asian Books Blog is based in Singapore. Our regular column Lion City Lit explores in-depth what’s going on in the City-State, lit-wise. Here Raelee Chapman talks to Dr Chris Mooney-Singh an Australian writer, poet, musician and performance artist who has lived and worked in Singapore for a number of years, and who has made his mark on the City-State as an all-round arts entrepreneur.

Tuesday 13 September 2016

Man Booker shortlist and housekeeping.

Man Booker have announced their shortlist for the 2016 prize. Click here. Do Not Say We have Nothing, by Madeleine Thien, published by Granta, has made the cut.

In Canada in 1991, ten-year-old Marie and her mother invite a guest into their home: a young woman called Ai-Ming, who has fled China in the aftermath of the Tiananmen Square protests. 
Ai-Ming tells Marie the story of her family in Revolutionary China - from the crowded teahouses in the first days of Chairman Mao’s ascent to the Shanghai Conservatory in the 1960s and the events leading to the Beijing demonstrations of 1989.  It is a story of revolutionary idealism, music, and silence, in which three musicians - the shy and brilliant composer Sparrow, the violin prodigy Zhuli, and the enigmatic pianist Kai - struggle during China’s relentless Cultural Revolution to remain loyal to one another and to the music they have devoted their lives to.  Forced to re-imagine their artistic and private selves, their fates reverberate through the years, with deep and lasting consequences for Ai-Ming – and for Marie.

Less loftily, I will now post the main weekly post on Fridays, not Thursdays...

Saturday 10 September 2016

Buy a Book, Give a Book / Jennie Orchard

As promised yesterday, here is a post on promoting literacy in Asia, to tie in with UNESCO's International Literacy Day. It's from Jennie Orchard, of the Hong Kong chapter of Room to Readthe US-based non-profit organisation for improving literacy and gender equality in education in low-income countries. 

Friday 9 September 2016

Returning from summer....

The sharp-eyed / sharp-memoried / keen amongst you may have noticed the blog is reopening after the summer break a day later than I said it would - that's because I was flying yesterday. So I missed the 50th edition of UNESCO's International Literacy Day. Apologies. Over the coming week, I hope to have a couple of posts on promoting literacy in Asia.

Monday 1 August 2016

Closing for August / happy reading

The blog is now closed for August. It will reopen on World Literacy Day, Thursday September 8th. 

To those in the northern hemisphere: happy summer reading! 

To those in the southern hemisphere: happy August reading!