Moving ever closer to the elusive tycoon, August introduces us to a people in the midst of head-spinning self-transformation. We meet a nightclub hostess and her gaggle of "Miss Temporaries"; powerful businessmen on a debt-settling round of nocturnal golf; and a foie gras king who markets his goose liver by the ton and prefers it deep fried.
This is a China seething with desire, engaged in a slapstick fight with its past, and hell bent on the future. Inside the Red Mansion is the first book to capture the giddy vibe of contemporary China and its darker vulnerabilities.
Well written, and enjoyable. There hasn't been a single moment where the story has dragged, I only hope there are more books like this on China.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful
What made the experience of listening to Inside the Red Mansion the most enjoyable?
Interesting pursuit (tracking a Chinese businessman who went from rag-to-riches before succumbing a to bitter downfall).
Who was your favorite character and why?
None in particular.
Which character – as performed by Simon Vance – was your favorite?
All were OK.
What’s the most interesting tidbit you’ve picked up from this book?
The Chinese government's level of reaction to its runaway economy, in contrast to the old-school form of centralized planning and top-down controlling from the communist-Mao-era that seemed to dictate the future of the country.
Any additional comments?
The author's research into the life of multimillionaire smuggler Lai Changxing provides the backdrop for what is really a voyage of discovery through what might be called the "Really New China", a nation being transformed by a capitalist revolution from below, led by fearless people like Mr. Lai who both work with and against officialdom in a monumental effort to transform China into a land of (economic) freedom and opportunity. The voyage is made all the more enjoyable by our effortlessly charming and instinctively poetic host, whose almost Shakesperean command of the English language is ideally suited to his epic of praise for the courageous and infintely resourceful Chinese people he so obviously loves.