“Funny and shrewd” (The New York Times Book Review) essays from China’s most popular young troublemaker about growing up millennial and causing social and political scandal today.
Han Han “owes equal debt to Jack Kerouac and Justin Timberlake” (The New Yorker). He’s the most influential (and provocative) young person in China, equally beloved and reviled for the satirical wit with which he takes on everyone from corrupt politicians to ludicrous protesters and everything from Internet culture in a country that censors the Internet to the question of whether China is ready for democracy. “Evocative and funny” and “occasionally electrifying” (The Wall Street Journal), The Problem with Me provides “an insider’s look into Chinese culture and politics” (Publishers Weekly).
This essay collection from Han (Triple Door), China's premier millennial blogger and cultural critic, brims with wit. The selections are arranged chronologically, documenting Han's growth from a disaffected high school drop-out into a serious, politically engaged writer. Han covers a range of topics, including his experiences of growing up in the countryside, driving race cars, writing fiction, and becoming a father. In defense of democracy, he speaks out against elitism and corruption, taking China's literati and officials to task. He declares, "Popular participation, brought about by the Internet, means the abandonment of the well-known public intellectuals who used to say what was on everyone else's mind." Han uses the essay as a means to freely express his opinions and he has no problem later retracting them, as when he slams the preciousness of poetry and then apologizes for his unfair criticism. At times, the translated prose comes across as awkward and stilted. Nevertheless, this is a groundbreaking book for Anglophone readers, offering an insider's look into Chinese culture and politics. Han's writing on every topic combines charming storytelling, wise aphorisms, and serious analysis.