Yawning Heights: Chan Koon-chung’s Harmonious China

Linda Jaivin

The novel In an Age of Prosperity: China 2013 (陳冠中著 《盛世:中國、2013年》) is a sardonic and disturbing fictional consideration of the ‘harmonious society’ engineered by China’s party-state since the tumultuous events of 1989.

Various translations of the title of Chan Koon-chung’s novel have been suggested. It is said that an English version of the book will appear under the name The Fat Years. Although somewhat inapposite, it is perhaps a (misguided) reference to George Kates’ charming account of the former imperial capital, The Years That Were Fat: Peking, 1933-40 (New York: Harper, 1952). Another title, one employed by the publishing entrepreneur Hong Huang 洪晃, strikes a similarly false note: The Gilded Age.[Fig.1] This is a title used recently by the US social critic Thomas Frank for the ‘opening salvo’ of his powerful critique of the Clinton years, Commodify Your Dissent (1997). One could breezily argue that the previous Gilded Age of the United States—that of the late-nineteenth century—resembled today’s China, and that it was similarly noteworthy for rapacious capital accumulation and political influence peddling. However, the US shengshi was also a boom era for social change, academic freedom and a feisty press. For more on the reactions to Chan’s novel in China, see Gady Epstein, ‘China Looks Askance at a New Satiric Novel’, 24 May 2010, or click here for an interview with the author. Click here to read more »


【明報專訊】我希望韓寒的書在香港大 賣,台灣讀者也許不需要,他們有足夠強健的民主制度,以及不曾斷裂的中國文化傳統為基建。但是香港讀者要閱讀韓寒,不僅是對一個長得好看的上海男孩的好 奇,而是從他這扇窗戶看過去,可以看見我們自己(中國人香港人)的處境。

閱讀韓寒,不能單看他的文章與為人,甚至要把他的讀者以至整個社會 情境也納進討論範圍,才能看見他的位置、影響而至時代的亮光。 Click here to read more »

China’s star blogger says women is his biggest problem

China’s most famous blogger Han Han, praised for his searing critiques of corrupt officialdom and social issues, conceded Thursday that his biggest problems may be in the romance department.

“I myself have lots of problems. Relationship problems, for example,” the 27-year-old told reporters at the Hong Kong Book Fair after he was asked to offer a critique of his private life. Click here to read more »


劉若英主演的電影《徵婚啟事》原作者、臺灣傳奇女作家陳玉 慧,22日現身香港書展,配合江蘇人民出版社新近修訂出版的她的自傳體小說《海神家族》宣傳活動,並舉辦“愛世界的幾種方法”講座。在接受本報採訪時,她 介紹說,該書由她自編自導成話劇在臺灣上演廣受好評,“我正在與香港導演洽談把《海神家族》搬上銀幕。” Click here to read more »

陳冠中:沒不同聲音 遑論「和諧」

現居北京的香港作 家陳冠中寫下預言式政治小說《盛世—中國,2013》,只在台灣及香港出版,對於該書在內地流傳半年後被列為一級違規品,他笑言從不知情,亦沒有政府部門 找上門。(陳淑安攝)

【明報專訊】近年長居北京的香港作家陳冠中出席書展講座,與逾百名讀者談論他預測中國政治發展的近作《盛世》,令講座變成議論中國政 治專制的論壇。陳冠中借儒家對「和」的解讀,來演繹北京領導人近年大力鼓吹的「和諧」社會,暗批內地壓制不同聲音沒有真正和諧﹕「和是要有不同聲音,才可 以合起來,有不同聲音才可以『和』的。」 Click here to read more »


韓寒昨天亮相香港書 展,這是他首次在大陸以外地方舉行見面會。韓寒說,文化不該排他,o靚模都應該存在於書展,「我更會去買一本看看」。

能容納800人的會展中心演講廳,昨天擠進 1000人,傳媒擺起大陣仗,韓寒魅力可見一斑。(

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