"The essays cover a panoply of issues facing modern China, and the book's combination of scope and intimacy is central to its achievement."--Publishers Weekly
From the Inside Flap
"For an outside audience that still sometimes sees the Chinese as the faceless masses, Wasserstrom and Shah have assembled a collection of faces and names and fascinating life stories of a range of Chinese people. The contributors are some of the best-known writers on China today, and from every layer of society and every walk of life, the Chinese characters they have portrayed give readers a privileged glimpse inside a country that is bubbling with diversity and change."
-Rob Gifford, China Editor, The Economist
and author of China Road
"What makes Chinese Characters
such an enjoyable read is that it is a mosaic of engrossing portraits that allows the endless paradoxes of China to come alive in myriad enthralling ways. While the contributors obviously possess a depth professional and scholarly knowledge about China, what distinguishes their offerings here is vivid and evocative writing that shows rather than tells. You will not only learn from this book, but enjoy it."
-Orville Schell, The Arthur Ross Director, The Center on US-China Relations, Asia Society, New York City
"Jeffrey Wasserstrom and Angilee Shah have assembled one of the most engaging, compelling narratives about China - past and present - that I've ever read. The contributors take us on journeys across contemporary Chinese landscapes in a wonderful range of tones and voices, mountains and cities. I can't wait to pass this on."
-Susan Straight, Distinguished Professor of Creative Writing, UC Riverside and novelist of works such as Take One Candle Light a Room (2010) and A Million Nightingales (2006)