The Movers and Shakers of a Rising China
By Jianying Zha
(New Press, The, Hardcover, 9781595586209, 224pp.)
Publication Date: March 2011
Other Editions of This Title: Paperback
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In Tide Players, acclaimed New Yorker contributor and author Jianying Zha depicts a new generation of movers and shakers who are transforming modern China. Through half a dozen sharply etched and nuanced profiles, Tide Players captures both the concrete detail and the epic dimension of life in the world’s fastest-growing economy.
Zha’s vivid cast of characters includes an unlikely couple who teamed up to become the country’s leading real-estate moguls; a gifted chameleon who transformed himself from Mao’s favorite barefoot doctor” during the Cultural Revolution to a publishing maverick; and a tycoon of home-electronic chain stores who insisted on avenging his mother, who had been executed as a counter-revolutionary criminal.” Alongside these entrepreneurs, Zha also brings us the intellectuals: a cantankerous professor at China’s top university; a former cultural minister turned prolific writer; and Zha’s own brother, a dissident who served a nine-year prison term for helping to found the China Democracy Party.
Deeply engaging, lucid, and poignant, Zha’s insightful insider-outsider” portraits offer a picture of a China that few Western readers have seen before. Tide Players is essential reading for anyone seeking to understand today’s China.
Jianying Zha is a writer, media critic, and China representative of the India China Institute, The New School University, New York. She is the author of one book in English, China Pop, and five books in Chinese: three collections of fiction and two nonfiction books, including The Eighties, an award-winning cultural retrospective on 1980s China. She has published widely in both Chinese and English, including the New Yorker, the New York Times, Dushu, and Wanxiang. She received her BA from Peking University, MA from the University of South Carolina, and M.Phil from Columbia University. She lives in Beijing and New York.
"Zha beautifully combines the hard-earned expertise of an insider with the moral candor of an outsider. In exploring China’s defining struggles . . . [she] illuminate[s] the shadows in between, with empathy and courage."
—Evan Osnos, The New Yorker
"If you want to understand the astonishing developments in China’s contemporary cultural life . . . there could be no surer or more entertaining guide than Zha."
K. Anthony Appiah, Princeton University
"An engaging, comprehensible cross-section of the personalities and cultural concerns rising with China’s ascent."
"No one who writes in English about contemporary China is more thoroughly bilingual and bicultural than Jianying Zha. She truly 'gets it.'"
Perry Link, author of Evening Chats in Beijing