Wednesday, September 20, 2023

Mao: the unknown story - Jung Chang

We have already met Jung Chang when we talked about her “Wild Swans: three daughters of China”. She had already introduced us to the hardships the Chinese population had to endure under Mao Zedong’s rule.
This book, as the title suggests, features the dictator himself as the main character. Jung Chang tells us how this son of a farmer, born in a remote rural province, managed to take over the Chinese communist party first and the whole country after that. It also tells us how dozens of millions Chinese had to suffer and die because of the ambitions of a single man.

Monday, September 18, 2023

Moth Smoke - Mohsin Hamid

I had already read and reviewed another book by Mohsin Hamid: “The reluctant fundamentalist”. That was a pleasant surprise, as I had never heard of this author before. “Moth smoke” confirmed my first impression. Hamid's stories always feature some young, well educated, smart Pakistani who migrated to the USA or is friend with someone who went there. I suspect that this is an autobiographical touch.

Friday, September 15, 2023

Out of Africa, Shadows on the grass - Isak Dinesen (Karen Blixen)

Made super-famous by the Sydney Pollack’s movie of the same name featuring Meryl Streep and Robert Redford, “Out of Africa” contains Karen Blixen’s memories about her stay in Africa and has inspired millions of people around the globe.
Blixen moved to British East Africa (current Kenya) with her husband just before the beginning of WWI and remained there until the early thirties. She owned a coffee plantation where, for almost two decades, she lived and worked surrounded by various groups of locals, belonging to a multitude of ethnic groups, speaking different languages and adhering to several faiths.