Chinese Whispers: Cultural essays
Published by Wakefield Press (1995)
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‘He was an actor in a history that dictated its own merciless outcomes. I was only a bit player in that same history, at the point where it entered my life and where I was part of the connective tissue between China’s epoch and our own subtler, wryer Australian history, in which different, democratic pulses can be heard. I was embarrassed, but reluctant to let go of the gap that held me from identifying with a Chinese friend who identified himself with his own people. … He had his history, I had mine. The gap wasn’t such a large one, it turned out—simply the moment in an idling car when an individual decides.’
This is a literary journey of an Australian writer’s encounter with the culture and people of China, particularly its young writers and artists, and of the evolving influence of China on the writer’s own work and life.