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The Whale Rider
Witi Ihimaera
The Palace of Illusions
Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

Les tribulations d'un Chinois en Chine

Les tribulations d'un Chinois en Chine - Jules Verne Tribulations is okay. The plot idea of an over-pampered rich man who has everything except an idea of what to do with his life still resonates today. Kin Fo decides to end it all and for reasons best known to himself entrusts the task of killing him to his friend, the supremely competent but until now reformed assassin, Wang. What happens next is only unpredictable in the extremes to which the two of them will go.

Bearing in mind that Voyages Extraordinaires had a didactic mission, Verne does a reasonable job of covering the Chinese political issues of his day as they were understood abroad: poverty and mass emigration, the negative effects of imperialism, especially relating to opium and political unrest within China.

His lack of detailed knowledge of China's geography, outside the international centers and westernized trading ports limits him quite a bit. He tops it off with some peculiarly 19th century ideas about racial purity, western cultural superiority and various other indiscretions. Its actually quite funny to listen to him describing the cuisine and admitting that it might be refined if you were only used to it, while considering the music completely irredeemable!