Year of a Hundred books – #96 Five Star Billionaire

Five Star BillionaireFive Star BillionaireTash Aw

2/5

The last of the Booker long-listed novels I finished before the short-list was announced, I think Tash Aw’s Five Star Billionaire is definitely the weakest of the nominated books I’ve read. In contrast to We Need New Names, which was hard to read because of the content, this was hard to read because it was just so uninspiring.

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Year of a Hundred books – #45 The Tree That Bleeds

The Tree That BleedsThe Tree That Bleeds: A Uighur Town on the Edge – Nick Holdstock

5/5

I don’t often read travel writing. It’s not that I’m not interested in the places that are being visited and written about, rather that I’m not entirely interested in reading two hundred pages either gushing about how quaint/authentic/spiritual (delete as appropriate) the place is, or marvelling at the differences in culture between the subject country and the author’s home. The Tree That Bleeds avoids that for the most part, possibly because rather than a travelogue of a journey taking in lots of locations in a rather superficial manner, the author was resident in a single city (Yining, in Xinjiang Province, China) for an entire year, allowing a more detailed and immersive study of the region’s politics and society, and does so, for the most part, without moral judgement.

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Year of a Hundred books – #44 Shifu, You’ll Do Anything for a Laugh

Shifu, You'll Do Anything for a LaughShifu, You’ll Do Anything for a LaughMo Yan

3/5

I’ve mentioned before that from a reviewing perspective, anthologies and collections are somewhat difficult. This time round however, the task is slightly less daunting, as at least all of the stories in Shifu, You’ll Do Anything for a Laugh are written by the same author, last year’s Nobel Prize Laureate, Mo Yan. Continue reading “Year of a Hundred books – #44 Shifu, You’ll Do Anything for a Laugh”