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Diane Wei Liang was born in China in 1966, the year the Cultural Revolution began. She was studying at Beijing University in the 1980s but was forced to leave and continue her studies in the USA because of her involvement in the students' revolt that led to the Tiananmen Square massacre. She now lives in London, where she teaches business management at Royal Holloway, and is married with two small children.
Photograph © Jerry Bauer
May 2008 Crime/Whodunit Book of the Month. These are really lovely novels with wonderful insight in to China’s history and great characters who are sharp and funny and intuitive. China is a country where the new and old will always intertwine and as Mei Wang investigates the disappearance of a young starlet she finds herself searching from the glamorous high rises of Beijing to the old alleys of the city full of their old superstitions and traditions.
This is the author's first venture in to fiction and it is thoroughly absorbing. The details about China and it’s history are fascinating as well as the characters being interesting and original. Mei Wang is the private detective hired to track down a Han dynasty jade that went missing years before, soon she finds herself more personally involved in the case than she expected. A delightful read.
Mei is a modern, independent Chinese woman. She runs her own business in Beijing, working as a private investigator; she owns a car; she even has that most modern of commodities, a male secretary. One day, 'Uncle' Chen - no relation but a close friend of her mother's - comes to Mei with a case to investigate. He asks her to find the Eye of Jade, a Han dynasty artefact of great value. The Eye of Jade was taken from its museum during the years of the Cultural Revolution when Red Guards swarmed the streets, destroying many remnants of the past. Mei's investigations reveal a story that has far more to do with the past, and her own family history, than she could ever have expected. This story forces her to delve into that dark part of China's history, Mao's labour camps and the countless deaths for which no-one was ever held responsible. It exposes the agonising choices made during the Revolution, to kill or be killed, to love or to live. Eye of Jade is a fascinating glimpse of city life in modern China. Liang captures vividly Beijing's bustle and noise, from seedy gambling dens and cheap noodle bars to the splendour of the Forbidden City. Through a rich cast of characters including immigrant workers and government officials, she examines the sometimes uneasy relationship between China's brutal communist past and its increasingly capitalist present.
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