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The Fat Years by Chan Koonchung
  

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In today's Western World, we are all aware of China and its force in the world. But, because our cultures are so different, it is easy to put to one side the political and economic influence that we all know China might wield upon us and future generations. Some schools make a great play of children learning to speak Mandarin. But how important will this be? For example, go to a restaurant in Beijing to day and a waiter will approach your table and say: 'Hi, I'm Darren, I'll be looking after you today'. (True). No, it is understanding the culture, the people and how they THINK that is important. This is where the importance of literary fiction comes in. By telling a story and setting a context and placing the reader right inside the characters' thinking, the vision of a 'strange' culture and an alien future can be brought to life. Furthermore, to many of us, literary fiction is more approachable than political sermonising.

So, if nothing else, please read the Preface in the Extract featured on this page and you will find out why you need to read this novel. Here are just a few of those reasons:

'The construction of an authoritarian harmony has always been implicit in Communist theory and practice, but this became official policy after 2007...'

'The Beijing regime has stayed in power by a bargain with its citizens - tolerate our authoritarian rule and we'll make you rich'.

'As Chan Koonchung has observed: 'many of those who were once critical of the regime are now part of the system'.

'Much of the force of The Fat Years springs from its unusual honesty about certain aspects of contemporary Chinese society'.

So, this is an important novel. It may not be the Animal Farm or 1984 of the 21st Century, and Chan Koonchung might not be George Orwell, but - unless you read this book - how will you know?

If you like Chan Koonchung you might also like to read books by Daniel Silva, Tom Bradby and Roberto Bolano.

Synopsis

The Fat Years by Chan Koonchung

Truth is not an option...Beijing, sometime in the near future: a month has gone missing from official records. No one has any memory of it, and no one can care less. Except for a small circle of friends, who will stop at nothing to get to the bottom of the sinister cheerfulness and amnesia that has possessed the Chinese nation. When they kidnap a high-ranking official and force him to reveal all, what they learn - not only about their leaders, but also about their own people - stuns them to the core. It is a message that will rock the world...Terrifying methods of cunning, deception and terror are unveiled by the truth-seekers in this thriller-expose of the Communist Party's stranglehold on China today.


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About the Author

Chan Koonchung was born in Shanghai and raised in Hong Kong. He was a reporter at an English newspaper in Hong Kong before he founded the influential magazine City in 1976, where he was the chief editor and then publisher for 23 years. He is also a screenwriter and film producer of both Chinese and English-language films. Chan is a co-founder of the Hong Kong environmental group Green Power and was a board member of Greenpeace International from 2008 to 2011. He recently founded the NGO, Minjian International, that connects Chinese public intellectuals with their counterparts in East Asia, Southeast Asia, South Asia and Africa. His google account is often blocked. He is fluent in English. Chan now lives in Beijing.

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Book Info

Publication date

21st July 2011

Author

Chan Koonchung

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Publisher

Doubleday an imprint of Transworld Publishers Ltd

Format

Paperback

Categories

Thriller / Suspense
Literary Fiction
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ISBN

9780385619189

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