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Fiction, set in China, suitable for a male. Can anyone help?

(25 Posts)
ja9 Sun 12-Jun-11 18:58:53

Is it a tall order? Grateful for recommendations.


ResurrectionByChocolate Sun 12-Jun-11 19:04:10

J G Ballard Empire of the Sun (but set in 1930's 40's). Gripping and scary, wartime experiences of an English boy in Shanghai.

TotalChaos Sun 12-Jun-11 19:05:29

The Painted Veil by Somerset Maugham.

Goblinchild Sun 12-Jun-11 19:27:18

Suitable for a male? What sort of male? smile

Wild Swans, Jung Chang is excellent even if you are not female.
Oracle Bones Peter Hessler

If he likes classical Chinese literature, then
Monkey by Wu Ch'eng-en
Outlaws of the Marsh by Shi Nai'an and Luo Guanzhong

Ancient thrillers. The Judge Dee series by Robert van Gulik

Modern thrillers The Yellowthread series by William Marshall
If he likes Catch 22, or M*A*S*H he may enjoy these.

ja9 Sun 12-Jun-11 19:36:43

Oh thank you! It's my DH. He's not a huge reader but dapples in a bit of fiction on holiday and he has a wee trip to China lined up so thought he might like a China -set novel for the journey.

So, Goblinchild, which of your great list would you put at the top for him then?

ColonelBrandonsBiggestGroupie Sun 12-Jun-11 19:42:30

Wild Swans isn't fiction. V v badly written imho - I couldn't finish it as it annoyed me too much.

There is a fascinating one about a guy trying to rear a wolf in Mongolia but again it's not quite fiction (as it's much influenced by real events) and I can't remember the writer or the title, sorry. No use at all.

Paul merton did a v good TV series set in China but I don't know if there's a book of it and again it wouldn't be fiction.

Hopefully more people with some actual knowledge will be along - I'm just here to nick suggestions! smile

ColonelBrandonsBiggestGroupie Sun 12-Jun-11 19:44:06

This is the wolf one - it's not an easy read but is v interesting.

Goblinchild Sun 12-Jun-11 19:44:26

Um, most of mine are a bit heavy for someone who isn't much of a reader, Yellowthread are police thrillers set in Hong Kong and rather surreal. smile
Wouldn't he rather have a decent travel non-fiction for China?
Paul Theroux wrote a travel book called Riding the Iron Rooster about a long distance train journey he did through China in th elate 1980s.

Goblinchild Sun 12-Jun-11 19:45:55

Well, we must agree to differ on Wild swans, although I do approve of your taste in men CBBG. smile

SheCutOffTheirTails Sun 12-Jun-11 19:46:09

Can it be that I've never read a novel set in China?


I can't think of one...

ColonelBrandonsBiggestGroupie Sun 12-Jun-11 19:48:25

smile Goblinchild - I'm not sharing! grin

Goblinchild Sun 12-Jun-11 19:49:13

The Art of War by Sun Tzu is a classic, and if he memorises quotes he can pretend to be venerable and wise and mystic when he returns.

ColonelBrandonsBiggestGroupie Sun 12-Jun-11 19:50:25

This series is more probably Japan than China (although set in a fictional oriental type world) but it's a really, really good read. V complex, lots of fighting, a love story etc. I highly recommend it.

TotalChaos Sun 12-Jun-11 19:51:18

there's a good Chinese crime fiction series set in Shanghai, Death of a Red Heroine and four or five more by Qiu Xialong.

Goblinchild Sun 12-Jun-11 19:51:22

I have more novels set in China SheCutOffTheirTails, but many of them are written from a female's POV. Who knows, the OP's DH might enjoy some Amy Tan.

Goblinchild Sun 12-Jun-11 19:52:22

My DS loved that series CBBG, but they are, as you say, Japanese.

ColonelBrandonsBiggestGroupie Sun 12-Jun-11 19:52:48

I really liked The Kitchen God's Wife but not any others of hers I've tried. I'm not sure they'd hold much appeal for a bloke who doesn't read much though. You've reminded me that I should probably give her another go though.

Goblinchild Sun 12-Jun-11 19:53:09

Oops, cat posted.

SheCutOffTheirTails Sun 12-Jun-11 19:54:12

"if he memorises quotes he can pretend to be venerable and wise and mystic when he returns"


Could the OP bear that?

<imagines DH being wise and venerable. shudders>

ColonelBrandonsBiggestGroupie Sun 12-Jun-11 19:57:44

Goblin - you let your cat use the computer? grin

Goblinchild Sun 12-Jun-11 19:57:46

I really liked The Bonesetter's Daughter by Amy Tan. Some of her others I wasn't so keen on. I've got Soul Mountain by Gao Xingjian on my shelf to read, I'm saving it for the summer holidays.

Goblinchild Sun 12-Jun-11 19:59:52

The cat is more attention seeking than the teen, every now and then he strolls across the laptop and lies down, pressing random keys. It's a bugger on facebook.
We are known for our random cryptic fragments of text across the world.grin

ellodarlin Sun 12-Jun-11 20:14:19

When we were orphans - Kazuo Ishiguro set in Shanghai. From a male pov, which as others have said, you don't always get in Chinese based novels.

The Lost Daughter of Happiness- Geling Yan. Its about people trafficking so party China, partly USA

Balzac and the little Chinese Seamstress - Dai Sijie, 2 boys in 1970s China discover a suitcase full of banned western literature

The Binding Chair - Kathryn Harrison -Early 1900s

For Non fiction I would recommend Red China Blues by Jan Wong.

ja9 Mon 13-Jun-11 12:00:23

Thank you! Have ordered When we were Orphans and Empire of the sun. Really appreciate all your suggestions. xx

schoolholidaymeanshotcrossmum Tue 14-Jun-11 12:46:49

oooh oooh Beijing Coma by Ma Jian is wonderful - his other books are good too.

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