I grew up in the semi-tropical south, dotted by wet paddy fields, but I always wanted to go to the north, the solemn and tough north. According to the geopolitics of China, the north represents culture and power, while the south retains rotten feudal traditions and trivial domestic comforts. I spent the first nineteen years of my life in the southern Chinese province called Zhejiang, a green hilly region south of Shanghai. There, everything was about agriculture. During the day people toiled in the rice paddies beside their buffaloes; at night three generations ate noodles while listening to the chickens in the backyard.
Well Done, No. 3777!
Our most popular reads of 2018
Who Killed Tolstoy?
Elif Batuman travels to the International Tolstoy Conference in Russia to determine, once and for all, if Leo Tolstoy was murdered.
Abuse, Silence, and the Light That Virginia Woolf Switched On
When Virginia Woolf was thirteen, she was abused by her half-brother George Duckworth. No one believed her – not even her biographers.
A Few Words about Fake Breasts
Nell Boeschenstein on the fraught discourse surrounding post-mastectomy reconstruction.
Jillian Weise explains what being a cyborg really means.
The Man Who Lived
Snigdha Poonam reports from India, where rumours spreading over WhatsApp fuel flash mobs, political violence and murder.
Best book of 1947: L’Écume des Jours by Boris Vian
‘In those spring nights, I sat by barbecue stalls in the streets of Beijing, reading this novel under dim streetlights while eating lamb skewers.’
The Price of Freedom, Including VAT
‘I had lost my native country, now I was going to lose a continent.’