Glimmers of Shanghai’s modernity in a 19th-century courtesan novel.
American essayist and novelist based in China since 1994. Writing philosophy: downmarket, big concept, provocative, discriminating, outrageous. Ballard, Beckett, Borges, Dick, Kafka, Hesse, Melville, Mishima, Sade are influences.
Things are grim on the ground but the tradition lives on in pictures.
An investigation of intoxicants in the time of Confucius.
Writers who play carelessly with time may leave the language in tatters.
Reviews of McKenna’s The Sand Pebbles, Mason’s The World of Suzie Wong, Arsan’s Emmanuelle, and Reynolds’ A Woman from Bangkok.
Literary disruptions of an American in China.
After long experience in East and Southeast Asia, the author turns his attention to the massage scene in his home country.
Dystopian satire distilling the worst of our present and future into a strangely seductive maze of a story.
Wending my way through Mekong River territory to sample some of the world’s most varied massage offerings.
Satirical review of the latest addition to Chinese socialist realist fiction.
What happens when wayward algorithms are allowed to censor content on social media.
Isham Cook’s latest books and blogs and other news on related topics.
Essays on Western culture ranging from the last Ice Age to the Renaissance to contemporary America’s obsessions and hysterias.
The conventional history of English force-fed to university students benefits no one but the academic textbook business and its tired stakeholders.
Only a perverted and schizophrenic society dangles sexual temptations to ever-younger people and punishes them brutally.