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China?

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The Czar
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China?

Post by The Czar » Sat May 21st, 2011, 6:15 pm

I like historical fiction, for one reason, because it allows me to learn about history in a more entertaining fashion. It also allows a view of a foreign culture in a way that "straight history" does not.

I am pretty well versed in modern European history, and to a lesser extent, ancient European history. Other than its interactions with the West, I have almost no knowledge of Eastern history, China, Japan, India, etc.

I see we already have an India thread going, and I will check some of those out. Does anyone have any recommendations for good HF on China? Any era, but pre-Communism preferred. I have tried many times to learn something about Chinese history, but always find it impenetrable, so I was hoping that maybe there was something good HF wise that could at least give me some snapshots of various periods.

Thanks!

ETA: Oops, wrong thread... Meant to start a separate thread.
Whoever wishes to foresee the future must consult the past; for human events ever resemble those of preceding times. This arises from the fact that they are produced by men who ever have been, and ever shall be, animated by the same passions, and thus they necessarily have the same results.
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Misfit
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Post by Misfit » Sat May 21st, 2011, 7:35 pm

Emma Drummond has two, Bridge of 100 Dragons and The Rice Dragon plus one under her alternate name of Elizabeth Darrell, The Jade Dragon. All Victorian era, but mainly set in China. 100 Dragons takes place during Chiang Kai Shek's (sp?) time. Jade is the weakest one, but does have some good moments. I've reviewed them all on Amazon.
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MLE (Emily Cotton)
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Interest in HF: started in childhood with the classics, which, IMHO are HF even if they were contemporary when written.
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Preferred HF: Currently prefer 1600 and earlier, but I'll read anything that keeps me turning the page.
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Post by MLE (Emily Cotton) » Sat May 21st, 2011, 8:22 pm

You can't go wrong reading the works of Pearl Buck. Some are historical for her, some contemporary for her but considered historical if written by modern writers. The Good Earth is, of course, her Pulizter-winning classic, but her others are also excellent.

In YA, Young Fu of the Upper Yangtze captured the Chinese spirit well. For WWII, also YA, the House of Sixty Fathers by de Jong.

If you haven't read Shogun, about 17th-century Japan, do so. Clavell's greatest book, IMHO.

annis
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Post by annis » Sat May 21st, 2011, 10:01 pm

A couple of my favourites:

Eleanor Cooney Court of the Lion

Justin Hill Passing Under Heaven

and though it's not strictly HF, being contemporary when written
Cao Xueqin's Dream of the Red Chamber

There have been some good historical fantasies in a China-inspires setting as well

Barry Hughart's trilogy beginning with Bridge of Birds. (There's an omnibus edition containing all 3 novels called The Chronicles of Master Li and Number Ten Ox)

Guy Gavriel Kay
Under Heaven

For synopses of these and other ideas, try Margaret Donsbach's Historical Novels Info
website.

Cuchulainn
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Post by Cuchulainn » Mon June 13th, 2011, 2:02 am

Have a look at "Judge Dee" books by Robert Van Gulik - I haven't read them yet but just ordered a bunch because I'm really into historical China. I've got high hopes for them because I understand that they've received recognition for very good historical accuracy.

You might take a look at the "Three Kingdoms," which is, as I understand, the Chinese Iliad. I confess, I bought it with the best intentions but couldn't finish it.

Also - a previous poster mentioned "Shogun." You could also check out "Tai Pan" which is the second in the series about the founding of Hong Kong - although the story does focus more on Western characters.

If you're into music, check out Damon Albarn's "Monkey: Journey to the West" (you can get it on iTunes or hear it on Youtube) - it's an opera based on a Chinese folk story.
Last edited by Cuchulainn on Mon June 13th, 2011, 2:06 am, edited 1 time in total.

annis
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Post by annis » Mon June 13th, 2011, 6:47 am

Shogun is a great novel, but it is set in Japan.

I still fondly remember the old Monkey series on TV, quirky and entertaining (a series about a Chinese folk-tale made in Japan- go figure!) I used to watch it with the kids. It's a bit of a cult-classic now :)

Cuchulainn
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Post by Cuchulainn » Wed June 15th, 2011, 2:51 am

[quote=""annis""]Shogun is a great novel, but it is set in Japan.

I still fondly remember the old Monkey series on TV, quirky and entertaining (a series about a Chinese folk-tale made in Japan- go figure!) I used to watch it with the kids. It's a bit of a cult-classic now :) [/quote]

I hope I am not straying too far off topic, but dig this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qf03ozpK-9o

annis
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Post by annis » Thu June 16th, 2011, 2:31 am

Thanks, Cuchulainn - this looks very cool! It would be amazing to see it live. One of the most amazing live performances i've ever seen was the one put on by the Shaolin monks when they toured NZ a few years back. Incredible stuff!

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