21 June 2011

Chinese Whiskers

Friends, this is a piece I did for Biblio, a one of its kind literary magazine in India - published from Delhi. I consider it a fairly important and essential platform for the intellectual exchange of ideas and information. I have attached its link. Readers can log in to the site and read

Author: Pallavi Aiyar
Publishers: Haerper Collins
Pages: 221
Price: 399

In one of her many interviews, author Pallavi Aiyar expresses her exasperation over too much “arm-chair analysis” that happens around the Indo- China relationship. To get a credible perspective on our Asian counterpart, she believes one must see things “ground up” rather than “top down” by observing the quotidian lives of its people. And Aiyar finds herself in a good position to do that, having stayed in Beijing for six years, first as an English teacher and then as a correspondent for The Hindu and The Indian Express. Like many expats in recent times, she has made use of this valuable experience to write two books on China, a society shrouded in ancient mysteries. This harmless cultural impulse apart, what has been worrying though is the Communist regime’s rigid monitoring and gagging of information, coinciding with the country’s dizzying success on the world economic stage. China elicits more interest now than ever before, and the fact that precious little fiction comes out of the country for the mainstream English reader, makes Chinese Whiskers all the more timely and interesting.


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