BookBrowse Reviews A Case of Two Cities by Qiu Xiaolong

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A Case of Two Cities

An Inspector Chen novel

By Qiu Xiaolong

A Case of Two Cities
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  • Hardcover: Nov 2006,
    320 pages.
    Paperback: Oct 2007,
    320 pages.

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At once a compelling crime novel and a insightful, moving portrayal of life in modern-day China. Mystery

This is the fourth volume in Xiaolong's Inspector Chen series, but it is not necessary to have read the earlier books to appreciate this one. The series, set mainly in 1990s Shanghai (although about half the action in A Tale of Two Cities takes place in Los Angeles), explores the fast changing political and cultural climate of modern China through the eyes of Inspector Chen who, like the author, came across an English textbook as a teenager, which triggered a lifelong interest in English poetry, particularly modernists such as T.S. Eliot.

After graduating with a degree in literature, Chen was assigned by the government to the Shanghai Police Bureau as a detective and is now an Inspector in charge of the "special case squad" which investigates political crimes. Chen's job requires him to perform a ...

Qiu Xiaolong (pronounced "chew-shao-long") was born and raised in Shanghai. He managed to avoid the worst of Mao Zedong's Cultural Revolution by falling ill with bronchitis at the age of 16, so he was able to stay in the city while his peers left to be "re-educated" in the countryside. One day while sitting on a bench in Shanghai's Bund he noticed some people studying an English book, which was the start of an interest that grew into an academic specialty in modernist poetry.

He came to the US in 1988, at the age of about 30, on a Ford Foundation grant. He chose to study at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, because of his enthusiasm for the poet T.S...

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Beyond the Book:
  A Short History of Modern China

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