Monday, July 07, 2008

Two Reviews of Join the Revolution, Comrade

Finally. Two review this week of Join the Revolution, Comrade. The first appearing last Saturday in the Hong Kong Standard (almost certainly our first review in an Asian paper), and begins like this:

Canadian Charles Foran, a one-time resident of Hong Kong, has just had published a collection of essays under the title Join the Revolution, Comrade, covering life on three continents and spanning topics from China to Cervantes.

In a world where "page-turner" is often seen as the ultimate accolade for a book, collections of essays aren't for everyone. Essays don't, by and large, propel the reader from chapter to chapter but instead induce pauses for reflection.

But Join the Revolution, Comrade isn't merely a book for savoring, although it is that. The complaints that Western writers don't make an effort to understand Asia and its cultural subtleties are possibly partly based either in a lack of awareness of those writers like Foran who can move seamlessly from Tariq Ali to Lu Xun to Yeats - or also, perhaps, in a certain unwillingness to read books whose pages don't turn by themselves.

The whole review can be found here:

The second review appeared in the Globe & Mail Books section this past week. Part of a group review, Foran's section begins like this:

In Join the Revolution, Comrade: Journeys and Essays, novelist Charles Foran leaves Nowhere - Toronto's Willowdale - for Somewhere - China, Thailand, Vietnam - taking us with him on a rich and reflective voyage as he skillfully navigates the clash of languages, cultures and points of view that travelling can trigger if you are wide-eyed, curious and eager to learn.

The whole review, which also includes a review of Bruce Serafin's Stardust (which I might pick up), can be found here:

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