Dongzhou City needs a new mayor. Devious plots, seduction, blackmail and bribery are all on the table in a no-holds-barred scramble for prestige and personal gain as the city's two vice-mayors compete for the top honour. At the centre of it all is a humble witness to events, a notebook whose pages contain information they should not ...... Penned by a former insider, The Civil Servant's Notebook is a political page-turner that offers a glimpse into the complex psyches of those who roam the guarded halls of Chinese officialdom.
This book is selected as a Book of the Year 2016 in the Daily Telegraph. The winner of the Harvill Secker/Daily Telegraph crime writing competition Captain Sam Wyndham, former Scotland Yard detective, is a new arrival to Calcutta. Desperately seeking a fresh start after his experiences during the Great War, Wyndham has been recruited to head up a new post in the police force. But with barely a moment to acclimatise to his new life or to deal with the ghosts which still haunt him, Wyndham is caught up in a murder investigation that will take him into the dark underbelly of the British Raj. A senior official has been murdered, and a note left in his mouth warns the British to quit India: or else. With rising political dissent and the stability of the Raj under threat, Wyndham and his two new colleagues - arrogant Inspector Digby and British-educated, but Indian-born Sergeant Banerjee, one of the few Indians to be recruited into the new CID - embark on an investigation that will take them from the luxurious parlours of wealthy British traders to the seedy opium dens of the city. The start of an atmospheric and enticing new historical crime series.
For a generation adjusting painfully to the demands of a modern industrial and commercial society, Asia came to represent an alternative vision of the good life: aesthetically austere, socially aristocratic, and imbued with spirituality. "The Book of Tea" was originally written in English and sought to address the inchoate yearnings of disaffected Westerners. In a flash of inspiration, Okakura saw that the formal tea party as practiced in New England was a distant cousin of the Japanese tea ceremony, and that East and West had thus 'met in the tea-cup'.
In conjunction with Fish Girl we will also read Somerset Maugham's The Four Dutchmen and discuss the two stories together. The Four Dutchmen is very short and a link to this story will be sent out.
Sparked by the description of a "Malay trollope" in Somerset Maugham's story, The Four Dutchmen, Mirandi Riwoe's novella, The Fish Girl tells of an Indonesian girl whose life is changed irrevocably when she moves from a small fishing village to work in the house of a Dutch merchant. There she finds both hardship and tenderness as her traditional past and colonial present collide.
Told with an exquisitely restrained voice and coloured with lush description, this moving book will stay with you long after the last page.
Shortlisted for the 2018 Stella Pr
A victorian epic transplanted to Japan, following a Korean family of immigrants through eight decades and four generations. Shortlisted for the National Book Award One of the New York Times's 10 Best Books of 2017 Yeongdo, Korea 1911. In a small fishing village on the banks of the East Sea, a club-footed, cleft-lipped man marries a fifteen-year-old girl. The couple have one child, their beloved daughter Sunja. When Sunja falls pregnant by a married yakuza, the family face ruin. But then Isak, a Christian minister, offers her a chance of salvation: a new life in Japan as his wife. Following a man she barely knows to a hostile country in which she has no friends, no home, and whose language she cannot speak, Sunja's salvation is just the beginning of her story. Through eight decades and four generations, Pachinko is an epic tale of family, identity, love, death and survival.
We have read well over 70 books since the book group began.