This Generation: Dispatches from China's Most Popular Literary Star (and Race Car Driver)

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Overview

For those who follow Chinese affairs, Han Han is as controversial as they come—an irreverent singer, sports celebrity, and satirist whose brilliant blogs and books have made him a huge celebrity with more than half a billion readers. Now, with this collection of his essays, Americans can appreciate the range of this rising literary star and get a fascinating trip through Chinese culture.

This Generation gathers his essays and blogs dating from 2006 to the present, telling the ...

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This Generation: Dispatches from China's Most Popular Literary Star (and Race Car Driver)

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Overview

For those who follow Chinese affairs, Han Han is as controversial as they come—an irreverent singer, sports celebrity, and satirist whose brilliant blogs and books have made him a huge celebrity with more than half a billion readers. Now, with this collection of his essays, Americans can appreciate the range of this rising literary star and get a fascinating trip through Chinese culture.

This Generation gathers his essays and blogs dating from 2006 to the present, telling the story of modern China through Han Han’s unique perspective. Writing on topics as diverse as racing, relationships, the Beijing Olympics, and how to be a patriot, he offers a brief, funny, and illuminating trip through a complex nation that most Westerners view as marching in lockstep. As much a millennial time capsule as an entertaining and invaluable way for English readers to understand our rising Eastern partner and rival, This Generation introduces a dazzling talent to American shores.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Over the past five years, Han, an insouciant public figure and dashing race car driver, has been churning out blog posts and brief essays with dizzying speed. Ranging over topics from political reform to prostitutes, Han’s often sarcastic and regularly satirical writings have been censored by the Chinese government but have won him adoring fans throughout China and around the world. Perhaps because of the translation and perhaps because of the flat-as-pavement prose itself, the blog posts in this first-ever volume of Han’s work introduce us to pedestrian observations on any number of subjects. Han reflects on the value of requiring the writing of essays in an academic setting, for example: “Writing essays essentially is a hobby, a love, like gardening or fishing—it’s not something you can force people to do.” On the faltering management of the Chinese government by its officials: “I realize that many things are actually not a problem to begin with, but once officials start to intervene, a small thing becomes big, and big thing blows up in their faces.” (Oct.)
Reuters
This Generation is a pragmatic guide to public expression in China… [Han Han] dissects the latest news with gusto.”
AMY CHUA
“I started to glance through THIS GENERATION expecting the usual—and I could not put it down! What a voice and what a wit! But so wise and generous, too.”
From the Publisher
“China’s most popular blogger . . . His manicured, swaggering persona is a rebuke to the rumpled archetype of the Chinese intellectual, and owes equal debt to Kerouac and Timberlake.”
—Evan Osnos, The New Yorker

“Scaling the Great Firewall of China may be a tall order, but the 30-year-old Han Han has succeeded remarkably well. In fact, shock and awe will probably be the emotions that first register with readers unfamiliar with or ambivalent about Chinese culture. Yes, someone living inside Communist China is writing these things online—and, yes, has yet to face serious consequences. Prepare for even more enlightenment and entertainment, because the firebrand behind these invaluable posts is more Jon Stewart than John Brown. The sly and often funny dispatches take on Communist Party corruption, inequality, injustice, censorship and more. But the author isn’t shy about taking on some of his other countrymen in the process . . . Han Han navigates around these and other cultural potholes with the same assuredness he shows on racetracks all over of the world. The finish line here is a relevant view of modern Chinese life, and Han Han’s commentary on events both large and small inside China drives past politics, outruns Sinophobia and brings Chinese society into sharp focus. A must-read for anyone, especially 20- and 30-somethings, itching to understand China today.” —Kirkus Reviews

Amy Chua
“I started to glance through THIS GENERATION expecting the usual—and I could not put it down! What a voice and what a wit! But so wise and generous, too.”
Jonathan Fenby
"Han Han is a phenomenon of today's China who personifies a rapidly changing society."
The New York Review of Books - Perry Link
“Han Han does more than just put well-known complaints into clever form. On some topics he is uniquely astute….Elsewhere Han brings deep insight to the question of cultural insecurity….Han is especially perceptive on how language is used in Chinese politics…. Han Han’s large readership is the best evidence we have of a broad survival of common sense in China.”
Library Journal
After Han dropped out of high school, he wrote a novel titled Triple Door that has sold more than 20 million copies, then went on to become a singer, a sharp-tongued blogger of the moment, and a star on the rally racing circuit. Now he's an international celebrity. Seriously, this collection of reflections sounds cool.
Kirkus Reviews
China's bad-boy blogger and auto-racing hero Han Han tells it like it is in the People's Republic, relying on a deep reservoir of wit and wisdom and a wily insistence on justice for all. Scaling the Great Firewall of China may be a tall order, but the 30-year-old Han Han has succeeded remarkably well. In fact, shock and awe will probably be the emotions that first register with readers unfamiliar with or ambivalent about Chinese culture. Yes, someone living inside Communist China is writing these things online--and, yes, has yet to face serious consequences. Prepare for even more enlightenment and entertainment, because the firebrand behind these invaluable posts is more Jon Stewart than John Brown. The sly and often funny dispatches take on Communist Party corruption, inequality, injustice, censorship and more. But the author isn't shy about taking on some of his other countrymen in the process. "Patriotism can sometimes be a form of self-preservation," he writes, "but sometimes it is a matter of the tone you set, and the tone we are setting shows we have no class." Han Han navigates around these and other cultural potholes with the same assuredness he shows on racetracks all over of the world. The finish line here is a relevant view of modern Chinese life, and Han Han's commentary on events both large and small inside China drives past politics, outruns Sinophobia and brings Chinese society into sharp focus. A must-read for anyone, especially 20- and 30-somethings, itching to understand China today.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781451660012
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster
  • Publication date: 10/22/2013
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 951,091
  • Product dimensions: 5.80 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Han Han was born in 1982 to middle class parents. After dropping out of high school due to low grades, he wrote the novel Triple Door, which became a runaway bestseller with more than 20 million copies in print. He has since become a star of the rally racing circuit and an international celebrity. He lives in Shanghai.

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Table of Contents

Foreword ix

This generation 1

Why do you cost more than me? 5

Social regression, government extortion 9

Regarding my debt to society 13

How radical and ridiculous I am 17

Traditional Virtues 19

On flying the flag 21

Let's do away with student essays 23

Insults to China 27

Market day for patriots 33

Q & A with Chinese nationalists 37

Loving our country, saving our face 41

Let's not get in a rage so easily 47

Expressions of personal taste strictly prohibited 53

I'll do whatever it takes to be an Olympics sponsor 57

Faking it 61

Sex + Soccer = Scandal? 63

Oh, man-what do we do now? 67

Clothes must be new; this is getting old 69

We must boycott French products 73

In praise of Feng Shunqiao 79

Some points to note about whoring 81

No fire without smoke: business as usual for China Central Television 89

Like Jackie Chan, guessing the majesties' wishes 95

Further points to note about whoring 101

The Founding of a Republic 105

Report on preparations for the World Rally Championship in Australia 109

November 21, 2009 115

Try the pickles 117

Just testing 121

Required course for Chinese officials: Lesson One 125

Are you Xiaoming? 129

Han Feng is a fine cadre 133

Where else could I find someone like you? 137

Letters from strangers 141

What is it you're so afraid of? 145

Yes, do come! Yes, do go! 151

Children, you're spoiling grandpa's fun 157

Talking freely, wine in hand 161

Those scallions that just won't wash clean 165

Youth 169

Orphan of Asia 175

Protect the-[unacceptable input] 181

Should we or shouldn't we? 185

Do we need the truth, or just the truth that fits our needs? 189

On begging 193

Prices are going to take a dive 197

Huang Yibo is a fine cadre 203

Three Gorges is a fine dam 209

I have a good life in Shanghai 213

The disconnected nation 217

What do you do if it's too downbeat? 221

We already had our say on that 225

Speaking of revolution 231

Talking about democracy 239

Pressing for freedom 245

This last year of mine 249

Index 255

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted November 20, 2013

    A hilarious and thoughtful take on China now! Best $10 I've spent in quite a while - buy it!

    The most hilarious and brilliant book I've read in a long time. Reading passages to my wife, it's hard to get through them without bursting out laughing. Han Han is bold and unsparing about the Chinese leadership (don't be surprised if he turns up dead one of these days in a mysterious race car accident), but at the end he's compassionate, thoughtful, and optimistic, where he calls for avoiding a bloody revolution.
    In case you're put off by the strangely large number of 1-star reviews (at least on Amazon, check it out), please follow this recipe:
    - Buy the book. At a mere $10, you won't regret it.
    - Read Han Han's essays about the "50-centers": (Jan. 20,2010: "Required course for Chinese officials: Lesson One" and 02/06/2010: "Are you Xiaoming?")
    Now you'll completely understand where those negative reviews come from. Ignore them and enjoy the book!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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