This Generation: Dispatches from China's Most Popular Literary Star (and Race Car Driver) by Han Han
“The enfant terrible of Chinese letters” (The Daily Beast/Newsweek).
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. 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 2012, 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.
Born in 1982 to middle class parents, Han Han shot to fame at the age of seventeen with the publication of his debut novel, Triple Door, a runaway bestseller with over two million copies in print. Over the next fifteen years, he cemented his reputation as a director, singer, racecar driver, Internet celebrity, and public intellectual. The Problem with Me is the third of his books to appear in English, after This Generation and 1988: I Want to Talk with the World. He lives in Shanghai.
Table of Contents
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
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
“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 funnydispatches 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
“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.”
This Generation: Dispatches from China's Most Popular Literary Star (and Race Car Driver) 5 out of 5based on
More than 1 year ago
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!
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