Excerpt from Rock Paper Tiger by Lisa Brackmann, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Rock Paper Tiger

by Lisa Brackmann

Rock Paper Tiger
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Jun 2010, 368 pages
    Paperback:
    Jun 2011, 336 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Judy Krueger

Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt

Chapter One

I’m living in this dump in Haidian Qu, close to Wudaokou, on the twenty-first floor of a decaying high-rise. The grounds are bare; the trees have died; the rubber tiles on the walkways, in their garish pink and yellow, are cracked and curling. The lights have been out in the lobby since I moved in; they never finished the interior walls in the foyers outside the elevator, and the windows are boarded up, so every time I step outside the apartment door I’m in a weird twilight world of bare cement and blue fluorescent light.

The worst thing about the foyer is that I might run into Mrs. Hua, who lives next door with her fat spoiled-brat kid. She hates that I’m crashing here, thinks I’m some slutty American who is corrupting China’s morals. She’s always muttering under her breath, threatening to report me to the Public Security Bureau for all kinds of made-up shit. It’s not like I ever did anything to her, and it’s not like I’m doing anything wrong, but the last thing I need is the PSB on my ass.

I’ve got enough problems.

Outside, the afternoon sun filters through a yellow haze. My leg hurts, but I should walk, I tell myself. Get some PT in. The deal I make with myself is, if it gets too bad, I’ll take a Percocet; but I only have about a dozen left, so it has to be really bad before I can take one. Today the pain is just a dull throb, like a toothache in my thigh.

I pass the gas tanks off Chengfu Road, these four-story-high giant globes, and I think: one of these days, some guy will get pissed off at his girlfriend, light a couple sticks of dynamite underneath them (since they don’t have many guns here, the truly pissed-off tend to vent with explosives and rat poison), a few city blocks and a couple thousand people will get incinerated, and everyone will shrug—oh, well, too bad, but this is China, and shit happens. Department store roofs collapse; chemicals poison rivers; miners suffocate in illegal mines. I walk down this one block nearly every day on my way to work, and there are five sex businesses practically next door to each other, “teahouses” and “foot massage parlors,” with girls from the countryside sitting on pink leatherette couches, waiting for some horny migrant worker to come in with enough renminbi to fuck his brains out for a while and forget about the shack he’s living in and the family he’s left behind and the shitty wages he’s earning. Hey, why not?

I still like it here, overall.

I guess.

I’m just in this bad mood lately.

So I call Lao Zhang. That’s what I do these days when I’m feeling sorry for myself.

Wei?” Lao Zhang has a growly voice, like he’s talking himself out of a grunt half the time.

“It’s me. Yili.”

That’s my Chinese name, Yili. It means “progressive ideas” or something. Mainly it sounds kind of like Ellie.

“Yili, ni hao.”

He sounds distracted, which isn’t like him. He’s probably working; he almost always is. He’s been painting a lot lately. Before that, he mostly did performance pieces, stuff like stripping naked and painting himself red on top of the Drum Tower or steering a reed boat down the Yangtze with a life-size statue of Karl Marx in the prow.

But usually when I call, he sounds like he’s glad to hear my voice, no matter what he’s doing. Which is one of the reasons I call him when I’m having a bad day.

“Okay, I guess,” I answer. “I’m not working. Thought I’d see what you were up to.”

Excerpted from Rock Paper Tiger by Lisa Brackmann. Copyright © 2010 by Lisa Brackmann. Excerpted by permission of Soho Press. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!
Member Benefits

Join Now!

Check the advantages!
Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year

    •  
    • FREE
    • MEMBER
    • Range of media reviews for each book
    • Excerpts of all featured books
    • Author bios, interviews and pronunciations
    • Browse by genre
    • Book club discussions
    • Book club advice and reading guides
    • BookBrowse reviews and "beyond the book" back-stories
    •  
    • Reviews of notable books ahead of publication
    •  
    • Free books to read and review (US Only)
    •  
    • Browse for the best books by time period, setting & theme
    •  
    • Read-alike suggestions for thousands of books and authors
    •  
    • 'My Reading List" to keep track of your books
    •  

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: A Certain Age
    A Certain Age
    by Beatriz Williams
    Lovers of high-society gossip, there's a new set of players in town. A good 20 out of 23 of our...
  • Book Jacket: The Romanovs
    The Romanovs
    by Simon Sebag Montefiore
    The Romanovs chronicles the reigns of the 20 individuals who were considered members of that dynasty...
  • Book Jacket: Barkskins
    Barkskins
    by Annie Proulx
    Barkskins, by Annie Proulx, is not a book to read quickly. After a month of slow reading, I ...

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    All Is Not Forgotten
    by Wendy Walker

    This is fast-paced psychological suspense/thriller at it's very best.

    Read Member Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    Falling
    by Jane Green

    "Readers who enjoy a love story with heart will adore this tale of homecoming and transformation." - LJ

    Read Member Reviews

Members review books pre-publication. Read their opinions in First Impressions

Book Discussions
Book Jacket
The Fair Fight
by Anna Freeman

A page-turning novel set in the world of 18th century female pugilists.

About the book
Join the discussion!
Summer Stunner
Summer Giveaway

Win 5 books, each week in July!

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

W M T N, W C F All

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.

 
X

BookBrowse Summer Giveaway

We're giving away
5 books every
week in July!