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Chinese Characters: Profiles of Fast-Changing Lives in a Fast-Changing Land Paperback – September 28, 2012
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From the Inside Flap
-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
-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)
Top Customer Reviews
While each story revolves around an individual, the essayists put their lives in context, exploring the developments in China's history that help explain how they arrived at their present situation. For example, a beautiful story by Ian Johnson about a Taoist monk trying to hold onto his religion in a changing world offers a snapshot of the history of religion in China that is concise, informative and poetic. It also tells of how the Cultural Revolution nearly wiped out all religion n China. He at first sees the monk as a shyster but soon comes to respect him and to see the beauty in his life. It is the most poignant chapter in the book.
In one of my very favorite essays, Evan Osnos tracks down a student who created a video during the 2008 crackdown on Tibetan rioters that rails against the West and blames most of China's woes on imperialist forces. This was when nationalism surged in China and when Anti-CNN "exposed" the bias of Western media coverage of China. What a surprise it is when the reporter tracks down the video maker to discover he is a graduate students working on his dissertation on Western philosophy. He reads English and German fluently and is working on Latin and Greek. His room is stacked with philosophy books, and he is "under contract for a Chinese translation of Leibniz's Discourse on Metaphysics.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I have been fortunate enough to visit China three times. I saw many changes from 2000 to 2006 to 2012. The book really captures the changing world within China. Read morePublished on March 1, 2013 by Michelle T.