Former leading New Zealand publisher and bookseller, and widely experienced judge of both the Commonwealth Writers Prize and the Montana New Zealand Book Awards, talks about what he is currently reading, what impresses him and what doesn't, along with chat about the international English language book scene, and links to sites of interest to booklovers.
Two years ago, I packed up my suitcase and flew halfway across
the world to live in Beijing for a summer. While I experienced all the
classic tourist moments, what most struck me was that my time abroad revealed
to me how much of my identity is based on my being an American. I became part
of the local expat scene, frequenting joints known for their western crowds.
I lived in Beijing, but specifically within a small, privileged sect of
Beijing that was paradoxically both international and isolated at the same
time. In her novel THE EXPATRIATES, Janice Y. K. Lee perfectly captures this
strange sense of community and life in a foreign, yet oddly familiar,