James Fallows is one of the best reporters out there on contemporary China—and he’s reviewed Rock Paper Tiger. To say I’m excited is an understatement:
To add to the list of “good fiction set in modern China,” check out Rock Paper Tiger, by Lisa Brackmann. It’s a mystery/action novel that pretty much pulls off something I would have thought improbable: combining an account of Iraq-war drama (the emphasis is on Abu Ghraib-type themes), with a portrayal of the urban China of these past few years, complete with overhyped art scene, dissident bloggers, lots of young expats, and constant uncertainty about what the government will permit or crack down on. Along the way, lots about the online gaming world that often seems the main passion of youthful Chinese, especially males.
There’s more at the link!
In “Rock Paper Tiger” (Soho, 345 pp., $25) — a remarkable debut by Lisa Brackmann — Ellie, a wounded medic and Iraq War vet, is scraping by in a low-rent corner of Beijing. Her friends, scrappy artists with dissident connections, attract the attention of Chinese and American authorities, forcing blunt-speaking Ellie and others into hiding.
Check out the rest at the link!
And finally, one of my very favorite publishing industry bloggers, the Rejectionist, writes a really thoughtful (and funny) review, picking up on aspects of the book that I am so gratified to have recognized:
Possibly it is not a total secret that the Rejectionist has, like, a soft spot for the tough-but-fucked-up lady-heroine! IT IS DEFINITELY NOT BECAUSE WE SEE ELEMENTS OF OURSELF IN THESE FICTIVE REPRESENTATIONS NO IT IS NOT THANK YOU VERY MUCH. Oh, SHUT UP. Anyway! Also very dear to us is the thriller-as-a-vehicle-for-insightful-social-commentary! So you can IMAGINE how much we like insightful thrillers starring tough but fucked-up lady characters! A LOT. That’s how much we like them. And GUESS WHAT? They’re kind of hard to find (the operative adjective being “insightful,” folks)! All of which is to say, we tore through the fantabulous Rock Paper Tiger with RECKLESS ABANDON AND DELIGHT.
Lots more at the link!