China contains a multitude. Its unruly complexity is part of its grandeur.
Modern China is at once an economic powerhouse and authoritarian state, an increasingly assertive superpower and an icon of modernity. Chinese history is no less contradictory. Heroes to some are villains to others; times of peace and prosperity give way to violence and famine; creativity flourishes in the midst of censorship and repression.
Jaivin distils this vast, complex story into a vivid narrative, from ancient times to Xi Jinping, the Covid-19 pandemic and the rise of the ‘wolf warriors’. She dismantles ideas of a monolithic China, revealing a nation of startling diversity. And she gives China’s women, from ancient warriors, inventors and rebels to their 21st-century counterparts, long overdue attention.
Finally, as age-old spectres of corruption and disunity continue to haunt the People’s Republic, she considers what lies ahead, both for China and the world.
Linda Jaivin is a translator, novelist, the author of several acclaimed works of non-fiction, and co-editor of The China Story Yearbook. She has lived in Taiwan, Hong Kong and Beijing, and has been writing about Chinese politics, culture and history for over three decades.