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


“No, not in Beijing,” he mumbles. “Just for a visit.”

“Oh. Is this your first time here?”

“Maybe . . . third time?” He smiles weakly and falls silent.

I don’t know what to say after that.

“We’re going to have to eat fast,” Lao Zhang says. “I want to get to the Warehouse early. Okay with you?”

“Sure,” I say. I have a few jiaozi and some spicy tofu, and then it’s time to go.

“Make yourself at home,” Lao Zhang tells Hashim. “Anything you need, call me. TV’s in there if you want to watch.”

“Oh. Thank you, but. . . .” Hashim gestures helplessly toward the utility room. “I think I’m still very tired.”

He looks tired. His hazel eyes are bloodshot, and the flesh around them is sagging and so dark it looks bruised.

“Thank you,” he says to me, bowing his head and backing toward the utility room. “Very nice to meet you.”

Chinese is a second language to him. Just like it is to me.

 

“ So , who’s theUighur?” I finally ask Lao Zhang, as we approach the Warehouse.

“Friend of a friend.”

 

“He’s an artist?”

“Writer or something. Needed a place to stay.”

He’s not telling me everything, I’m pretty sure. His face is tense; we’re walking next to each other, but he feels so separate that we might as well be on different blocks.

A lot of Chinese people don’t trust Uighurs, even though they’re Chinese citizens. As for the Uighurs, a lot of them aren’t crazy about the Chinese.

You’re supposed to say “Han,” not “Chinese,” when you’re talking about the ninety percent of the population that’s, well, Chinese; but hardly anyone does.

The Uighur homeland used to be called East Turkestan. China took it over a couple hundred years ago, and now it’s “Xinjiang.” For the last thirty years or so, the Chinese government’s been encouraging Han people to “go west” and settle there.

The government takes a hard line if the Uighurs try to do anything about it.

Since the riots in Urumqi last year, things have only gotten worse. Gangs of Uighurs burned down shops and buses and went after Han Chinese with hammers and pickaxes. So much for the “Harmonious Society.”

This guy Hashim, though, I can’t picture him setting things on fire. He looks like a professor on a bender. A writer or something, like Lao Zhang said. Maybe he’s an activist, some intellectual who got in trouble. It doesn’t take much for a Uighur to get into trouble in China.

“You should be careful,” I say.

Lao Zhang grins and squeezes my arm. “I know—those Uighurs, they’re all terrorists.”

“Ha ha.”

The other thing that’s screwed the Uighurs is that they’re Muslims, and you know how that goes in a lot of people’s heads.

 

The Warehouse is at the east end of Mati Village, close to the jiaozi place. It’s called that because it used to be a warehouse. The building is partitioned into several galleries and one big space, with a café in the corner. The main room has paintings, some sculpture, and, tonight, a band put together by Lao Zhang’s courtyard neighbor. The highlight of the evening is the end of a performance piece where this guy has been sealed up in what looks like a concrete block for forty-eight hours. Tonight’s the night he’s scheduled to break out, and a couple hundred people have gathered to watch.

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: Barkskins
    Barkskins
    by Annie Proulx
    Barkskins, by Annie Proulx, is not a book to read quickly. After a month of slow reading, I ...
  • Book Jacket
    The Marriage of Opposites
    by Alice Hoffman
    Alice Hoffman's latest work, The Marriage of Opposites, is a historical fiction novel focusing on ...
  • Book Jacket: Miss Jane
    Miss Jane
    by Brad Watson
    National Book Award Finalist Brad Watson returns with an intimate novel about one woman's journey to...

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    Miss Jane
    by Brad Watson

    "Starred Review. Sensitive, beautifully precise prose. Highly recommended." - PW

    Read Member Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    Since She Went Away
    by David Bell

    A chilling novel of guilt, regret, and a past which refuses to die...

    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!