Thursday, September 27, 2018

Ten top books about Old Shanghai

Born in London and educated there and in Glasgow, Paul French has lived and worked in Shanghai for many years. He is a widely published analyst and commentator on China and has written a number of books, including a history of foreign correspondents in China and a biography of the legendary Shanghai adman, journalist and adventurer Carl Crow. His new book is City of Devils: The Two Men Who Ruled the Underworld of Old Shanghai.

One of French's top ten books about Old Shanghai, as shared at the Guardian:
Empire of the Sun by JG Ballard (1984)

Shanghai-born Ballard’s fictionalised memoir of his time in a Japanese civilian internment camp at Lunghua on the edge of the city annoyed many of his fellow camp inmates when it was published, as they didn’t come out of it very well. Ballard took the decision to fictionalise his experiences the better to show the often “casual surrealism” of war. While he reveals the ignominies and deprivations of the camp, the earlier chapters also provide a vivid description of life for a wealthy and privileged foreign family in the city before the war with Japan.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue