China is definitely a puzzle hard to put together. However, things start to make sense once you know what the “Central Kingdom” has been through. So it is always a good idea to run through the pages of those works whose authors lived through big transitions.
Undoubtedly, China is a totally different country from what it was decades ago (especially seven decades ago), but surely many cultural aspects and beliefs have been dragged through the decades and remain up to the day.
They say “know the past to understand the present”, so if you’d like to understand the “Whys” and “Whats” of this vast culture, we highly suggest the next two reads which, by the way, are the starting point of a series Mandarin Community would like to share.
Out of China’s Nobel Prizes, Moyan stands on the literature side. The “Red Sorghum” author shows in a nostalgic and crude way those years when China started that well know policy: the one-child policy.
What readers can take out of this novella is how society in China saw itself affected and shaped after this policy started its implementation. Along with strict population control, the Chinese society ran along with political and geographical complications that probably shaped what we know of China nowadays.
SHANGHAI: THE RISE AND FALL OF A DECADENT CITY. Stella Dong
This is a research book that tells the history of our beloved Shanghai from the mid-1800s to the mid-1900s. Surely, much happened in one hundred years and much can be understood about China from the development of one specific city: Shanghai.
What readers can take out of this recommendation is how China developed its relationship with other countries in modern times and how much it affected the regulations in contemporary times. Also, Stella ironically shows how much Shanghai itself has not changed that much; her face changed but her essence remains strong.