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Orphan of Asia [Hardcover]

Zhuoliu Wu , Ioannis Mentzas

Price: CDN$ 32.58 & FREE Shipping. Details
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Book Description

Jan. 31 2006 0231137273 978-0231137270
Born in Japanese-occupied Taiwan, raised in the scholarly traditions of ancient China by his grandfather but forced into the Japanese educational system, Hu Taiming, the protagonist of Orphan of Asia, ultimately finds himself estranged from all three cultures. Wu's autobiographical novel, completed in 1945, is widely regarded as a classic of modern Asian literature and a groundbreaking expression of the postwar Taiwanese national consciousness. Originally written in Japanese and now translated into English for the first time, Orphan of Asia offers a powerful depiction of the political, cultural, and psychological impact of colonialism. Orphan of Asia begins during Taiming's childhood in Taiwan, which has been annexed to Japan only recently. Taiming eventually makes his mark in the colonial Japanese educational system and graduates from a prestigious college. However, he finds that his Japanese education and his adoption of modern ways have alienated him from his family and native village. He becomes a teacher in the Japanese colonial system but soon realizes that there is something seriously wrong with the status quo.He quits his post but finds that, having repudiated his roots, he doesn't seem to belong anywhere. Thus begins Taiming's long journey for his rightful place. But neither in Japan, where he goes to study physics in the belief that technology represents the future, nor in mainland China, where he marries and has a daughter, does he ever come to feel at home or find his calling. Although he assiduously avoids politics, Taiming can't help being caught up in the conflicts that shaped modern East Asian history. He is accused of spying for both China and Japan after hostilities breakout between the two countries, and he witnesses the effects of Japanese imperial expansion, the horrors of war, and the sense of anger and powerlessness felt by those living under colonial rule.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 247 pages
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press (Jan. 31 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0231137273
  • ISBN-13: 978-0231137270
  • Product Dimensions: 22 x 15 x 2 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 431 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,806,209 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From Booklist

Wu's autobiographical novel, completed in 1945 at the end of Japan's colonial rule of Taiwan, and here translated into English for the first time, traces the path of Hu Taiming. Raised in a traditional Taiwanese family, he retains an admiration for China, his ancestral homeland. Even within his own family, Taiming is pulled in opposite directions. His grandfather, Old Hu, takes him to study classic literature at a Chinese school. Old Hu's nephew, Zhida, a policeman who speaks Japanese, causing his family to treat him like a stranger, thinks Taiming should attend the more modern public school. He does, then later travels to Japan for further study. A friend gets him a teaching job in China, but Taiming is forced to leave because of growing anti-Taiwanese sentiment. Back in Taiwan, Taiming, trusted by few, feels like "a small rudderless boat drifting between the currents of two epochs." Wu's novel provides a unique and perceptive look at the consequences of colonial rule and at the roots of some of today's Asian conflicts. Deborah Donovan
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved


"It serves as an eye-opener to a less well-known chapter of Taiwan's history." -- Library Journal "Unique and perceptive look at the consequences of colonial rule and at the roots of some of today's Asian conflicts." -- Deborah Donovan, Booklist "The novel offers a rich panorama filled with telling economic and political details... The cumulative effect is devastating." -- Kirkus

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Amazon.com: 4.7 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great insight into the Taiwanese identity during recent history Jan. 13 2012
By Timothy M. Durkin - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book tells a compelling story mirroring the question of the Taiwanese identity during very turbulent times as the island finds itself transitioning from a part of China to a part of the Japanese empire and enemy of China, and then finally to an ambiguous state after the defeat of Japan in WWII.
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome June 25 2014
By Jonathan Heimer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Truly a aamazing piece. The authors style is perfect because it adds to the characters without using detail, it's how Zhuoliu Wu writes at times that captivates you.

Also the characters are amazing and I felt so connected to them. I felt that I was growing older as I was reading it, that I was there with Taiming.
4.0 out of 5 stars amazing story Aug. 20 2014
By Ree - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The book successfully connects oneself with the characters, it allows the reader to relate the historical backgrounds during Sino-Japanese War period to the story.

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