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.
After graduating from Brown University in Asian history and political science, Linda Jaivin studied and worked as a journalist, in Taiwan, Hong Kong and mainland China for nine years. She has worked as a literary translator (from Chinese, specialising in film), written seven novels (two set in China), five works of non-fiction (including SHOC), cultural commentary and essays. She co-edits the China Story Yearbook for the Australian Centre on China in the World at the Australian National University, where she is an associate editor.