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Historical Fiction set in Asia -- recommendations?

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Showing 1-25 of 59 posts in this discussion
In reply to an earlier post on Jun 19, 2012, 5:24:29 PM PDT
[Deleted by Amazon on Jun 19, 2012, 6:08:23 PM PDT]

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 19, 2012, 8:04:58 AM PDT
beatrice says:
fantastic and wonderful list, thank you

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 19, 2012, 8:04:13 AM PDT
beatrice says:
thank you so much for this wonderful list of books !

Posted on Jun 18, 2012, 8:20:48 AM PDT
NB says:
I had a chance to read Wings Of Freedom, a historical romance set in colonial India of the early twentieth century. It has received good reviews.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 18, 2012, 6:36:57 AM PDT
Thank you for this fabulous list!

Posted on Jun 18, 2012, 6:12:42 AM PDT
GT says:

History of Japan through (mostly) Novels
1. 1000s: The Tale of Murasaki by Liza Dalby
2. 1100s: Memoirs of the Warrior Kumagai by Donald Richie
3. 1500s: Taiko by Eiji Yoshilawa
4. 1600s: Shogun by James Clavell
5. 1600s: Musashi by Eiji Yoshikawa
6. 1700s: The Tokaido Road by Lucia St. Clair Robson Page
7. 1800s: The Doctor's Wife by Sawako Ariyoshi
8. 1800s: The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet by David Mitchell
9. 1800s: Cloud of Sparrows by Takashi Matsuoka
10. 1800s: The Pure Land by Alan Spence
11. 1800s: The Waiting Years by Fumiko Enchi
12. 1910s: The Ginger Tree by Oswald Wynd
13. 1930s: The Makioka Sisters by Junichiro Tanizaki
14. 1940s: Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden
15. 1940s: Nip the Buds, Shoot the Kids by Kenzaburo Oe
16. 1940s: Hiroshima by John Hersey
17. 1940s: An Artist of the Floating World by Kazuo Ishiguro

Posted on Jun 18, 2012, 6:10:49 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 18, 2012, 6:11:26 AM PDT
GT says:
Here are some great Asia-based novels, although not all are historical fiction.

"Recent" Chinese history through novels
1. 1200s: The Conqueror series by Conn Iggulden (Mongol Empire)
2. 1400s: The Examination by Malcolm Bosse (Ming Dynasty)
3. 1600s: Peony in Love by Lisa See (Qing Dynasty)
4. 1800s: Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See
5. 1800s: Tai-Pan by James Clavell
6. 1800s: Empress Orchid by Anchee Min
7. 1800s: The Last Empress by Anchee Min
8. 1900s: Wild Swans by Jung Chang (non-fiction)
9. 1920s: The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck
10. 1930s: The Girl Who Played Go by Shan Sa
11. 1930s: The Flowers of War by Geling Yan
12. 1940s: Empire of the Sun by J.G. Ballard
13. 1940s: Red Sorghum by Mo Yan
14. 1940s: Seven Years in Tibet by Heinrich Harrer
15. 1950s: Sky Burial: An Epic Love Story of Tibet by Xinran
16. 1950s: Dreams of Joy by Lisa See
17. 1970s: Wild Ginger by Anchee Min
18. 1980s: The Garlic Ballads by Mo Yan

"Recent" Indian history through novels
1. 1800s: Sea of Poppies by Amitav Ghosh
2. 1800s: The Siege of Krishnapur by J. G. Farrell
3. 1800s: The Far Pavilions by M. M. Kaye
4. Early 1900s: A Passage to India by E. M. Forster
5. Early 1900s: Raj by Gita Mehta
6. 1940s: Train to Pakistan by Khushwant Singh
7. 1940s: The Raj Quartet by Paul Scott
8. 1950s: A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth
9. 1970s: A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry
10. 1970s: Such a Long Journey by Rohinton Mistry
11. 1980s: Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts
12. 1980s: The Inheritance of Loss by Kiran Desai
13. 1990s: White Tiger by Aravind Adiga
14. 2000s: Slumdog Millionaire (aka Q

Posted on Jun 17, 2012, 5:13:26 PM PDT
Bookworm says:
You might also like 'City of Broken Promises', by Austin Coates. The story is set in 18th century Macau.
Marco, author The Witch Hunter's Amulet

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 17, 2012, 10:10:15 AM PDT
JW says:
WILD SWANS was a wonderful book. It was eye opening as to how other people live in an environment so a different from mine. Thanks for the reminder Michelle, it goes to the top of my TBRA stack!

Posted on Jun 17, 2012, 9:03:02 AM PDT
MS says:
Hi I love this thread!I must recommend Wild Swans:Three Daughters of China by Jung Chang. It is the story of 3 generations starting before Mao and through the revolution. You will never forget it once you see it from the inside!

Posted on Jun 16, 2012, 1:31:14 PM PDT
[Deleted by Amazon on Jun 16, 2012, 1:40:15 PM PDT]

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 15, 2012, 7:56:51 PM PDT
Linda Thorpe says:
Checkout Without Redemption, (India) and Desperate Crossing, (Russia) by Thomas Thorpe. Excellent, historically accurate thrillers set in the 1830's.
Available on Amazon.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 13, 2012, 6:58:25 PM PDT
SweeDaRo says:
I.J., Your Welcome! We have Yoshikawa'a other books on our wishlist and wish Taiko was available in something other than hardback.
Have you or anyone read any of Yasushi Inoue's works? We are quite curious about his book on Chinggis (Genghis) Khan.

I can now officially recommend I.J. Parker's Hollow Reed series. I've recently read book one Dream of a Spring Night (Hollow Reed series) and totally got swept into Toshiko's world. I will be doing a review and already have book two in the TBR pile.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 13, 2012, 10:50:33 AM PDT
I. J. Parker says:
Thanks, Dawn & Ron. Eiji Yoshikawa has also written TAIKO and TALE OF THE HEIKE.

Posted on Jun 6, 2012, 10:47:52 AM PDT
Beverly says:
A Passage to India by E M Forster; Shogun by James Clavell.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 5, 2012, 11:29:35 PM PDT
Obion1884 says:
First time to come across this thread. Am in complete agreement on Pearl Buck. Reading just one book, The Good Earth provides a basic understanding of Chinese culture. It may exist but I am not aware of any reasonably recent historical novel that does the same thing for any culture.

Posted on Jun 5, 2012, 6:51:31 PM PDT
Nancy Lee says:
The Martyred (Penguin Classics) - Korea
Lost Names: Scenes from a Korean Boyhood, 40th Anniversary Edition, With a New Preface - Korea
Daughter of the Bamboo Forest - China & Taiwan

Posted on Jun 5, 2012, 1:43:58 PM PDT
Llonya says:
Two books by J.G. Farell, two parts of his Empire Trilogy:

The Siege of Krishnapur (New York Review Books Classics)

The Singapore Grip (New York Review Books Classics)

Both are excellent. The first is set in India during an uprising against the British. The second is set in Singapore just before the start of WWII.

(The third, Troubles, is set in Ireland in the 1920.)

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 5, 2012, 3:11:58 AM PDT
Warren Blake says:
Asia is my part of the World, with a grown-up half Vietnamese, half Kiwi family, and hundreds of relevant books on my shelves.
I see that you have been, and will be, well served with recommendations for modern depictions, but if you are interested in contemporary (as opposed to modern) works, you might try:
"The Portuges Asia" by Faria y Sousa, transl by Capt John Stevens, 1695..."The Historie of the Difcoverie and Conqeft of India by the Portingalls" in facsimile, a trifle difficult to follow, but fascinating detail.
"A Voyage to New Holland" William Dampier, Explorer and Buccaneer, whose sensibilities in the 1690's are surpringly modern.
"Memoirs of William Hickey" a rollicking adventurer in India, China and London in the 1780's...with a 1960's view of morality'
"The Travels" 1300, by the eponymous MARCO Polo, in English in Penguin Classics....perhaps you can read the original??
"In the Nicobar Islands" George Whitehead, 1924. Classic colonial interest in an extremely isolated and small tribe.
I hesitate to promote my own work, but after 47 years adventuring in Asia (mostly SE Asia), may I suggest "A Long Way from Home", an epic novel set in the days (1840-50's) of Sir James Brooke, White Rajah of Sarawak, in Borneo, an extraordinary man who ruled, largely through the force of his personality and his instinctive understanding of and admiration for his head-hunting subjects, in a wilderness the size of France. I am presently struggling with the formatting (especially that of contemporary, 1850, etchings) to publish as an e-book on Amazon...should be available in June.
Even more hesitantly, you may wish to look at my first hand account of adventures as a foolhardy civilian youth in Vietnam during seven years of the American War in "End of an Era; Saigon before the Fall".....available as an Amazon e-book.
Warren Blake.

Posted on Jun 5, 2012, 1:46:34 AM PDT
Recently read Angela Davis-Gardner's interesting novel "Butterfly's Child" which continues the story from the Puccini opera. Also remember enjoying James Michener's "Caravans" about Afghanistan and almost any of Pearl S. Buck's books (she won the Nobel Prize in literature for "The Good Earth", one of her works about China), although you have to recall that these books were written many years ago. "Shanghai Girls" by Lisa See and most of Amy Tan's books (for example "The Joy Luck Club" and "The Bonesetter's Daughter") are also excellent reads set wholly or partially in Asia.

Posted on Jun 4, 2012, 8:06:37 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 5, 2012, 12:20:04 PM PDT
I'm probably starting to sound like a broken record with my Harold Lamb recommendations, but I really wish his works would regain popularity. He was writing about Asia and other exotic locales long before it was cool or trendy to do so. He mostly wrote short stories, which have been collected into several volumes available here on Amazon (Swords from the West, Swords from the East, Swords from the Desert, Swords from the Sea, etc). The 4 volumes about Khlit the Cossack are masterpieces as well. He also wrote "The Three Palladins", about Genghis Khan. These are short stories, written in the adventure magazine style, but with a freshness that holds up well today. They are very unconventional for their time, and the history and research are flawless. I strongly recommend everything he wrote!

Posted on Jun 3, 2012, 8:30:27 PM PDT
Wayward Son

Try this novel!

Posted on Jun 3, 2012, 7:34:45 PM PDT
Bookworm says:
I'm really enjoying the posts and suggestions, Thanks everyone. The Witch Hunter's Amulet, set in 16th cenrury Goa, Portuguese India, is also getting good reviews. Witch Hunter's Amulet

Posted on Jun 2, 2012, 6:25:30 PM PDT
K. Ratner says:
For HF set in Asia i got hooked on Mystic Dancer / F. G. Rist. I never knew this story. Had me crying at the end.

Posted on Apr 19, 2012, 9:51:57 AM PDT
Ann Allen says:
The The Jewel in the Crown (The Raj Quartet, Book 1) series is set in India during World War II.

(I'd forgotten about The Far Pavillions. It's been a long time since I read it, but I remember how much I liked it.Glad to see it posted here.)
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Discussion in:  Historical Fiction forum
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Initial post:  Dec 12, 2011
Latest post:  Jun 19, 2012

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