Chinese Characters

Profiles of Fast-Changing Lives in a Fast-Changing Land

By Angilee Shah (Editor); Jeffrey Wasserstrom (Editor); Pankaj Mishra (Foreword by)
(University of California Press, Paperback, 9780520270275, 231pp.)

Publication Date: September 2012

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Description
An artist paints landscapes of faraway places that she cannot identify in order to find her place in the global economy. A migrant worker sorts recyclables and thinks deeply about the soul of his country, while a Taoist mystic struggles to keep his traditions alive. An entrepreneur capitalizes on a growing car culture by trying to convince people not to buy cars. And a 90-year-old woman remembers how the oldest neighborhoods of her city used to be.


These are the exciting and saddening, humorous and confusing stories of utterly ordinary people who are living through China's extraordinary transformations. The immense variety in the lives of these Chinese characters dispels any lingering sense that China has a monolithic population or is just a place where dissidents fight Communist Party loyalists and laborers create goods for millionaires.


"Chinese Characters "is a collection, as Pankaj Mishra writes in his foreword, "to herald a new golden age of journalism about a ceaselessly fascinating country." Contributors include a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, a Macarthur Fellow, the China correspondent to a major Indian newspaper, and scholars whose depth of understanding is matched only by the humanity with which they treat their subjects. Their stories together create a multi-faceted portrait of a country in motion and an introduction to some of the best writing on China today.

With contributions from:


Alec Ash


James Carter


Leslie T. Chang


Xujun Eberlein


Harriet Evans


Anna Greenspan


Peter Hessler


Ian Johnson


Ananth Krishnan


Christina Larson


Michelle Dammon Loyalka


James Millward


Evan Osnos


Jeffrey Prescott


Megan Shank




About the Author
Jeffrey Wasserstrom is Professor of History at the University of California, Irvine. He is the author of books such as "China in the 21st Century", "Global Shanghai", and "China's Brave New World", and the editor of the "Journal of Asian Studies". Angilee Shah is a freelance journalist. Her work has appeared in the "Far Eastern Economic Review", "Mother Jones", "TimeOut Singapore", "Global Voices", and "AsiaMedia", among other publications.



Pankaj Mishra was born in northwest India in 1969 and lives in London and Mashobra, India. The author of "An End to Suffering "(FSG, 2004) and "Temptations of the West "(FSG, 2006), as well as a novel, "The Romantics, "he writes for "The New Yorker", "The New York Review of Books", "The New York Times Book Review", and "The Guardian".
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