Beyond the Book: Background information when reading The Eye of Jade

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The Eye of Jade

A Mei Wang Mystery

by Diane Wei Liang

The Eye of Jade
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  • First Published:
    Feb 2008, 272 pages
    Apr 2009, 288 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Stacey Brownlie

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Beyond the Book

Background to The Eye of Jade
Most of the novel takes place in China's capital city, Beijing. Diane Wei Liang emphasizes the contrasting and competing influences molding modern day Beijing in her descriptions of its districts, transportation structure and architecture. A 2008 issue of WIRED magazine featured an example of the innovative and population-dense construction that has sprung up in the ancient city in just the last few years.

The events in The Eye of Jade occur just prior to the culturally significant transition of the colony of Hong Kong (which means "fragrant harbor") from British control to Chinese rule. In the novel, Hong Kong not only appears as the most convenient neighbor for illegally smuggling and selling valuable antiques, but also as one of many references to China’s emerging blend of capitalism with communism. Hong Kong, a geographic area consisting of a peninsula off of mainland China as well as over 200 islands, was handed back to ...

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