For those who follow Chinese affairs, Han Han is as controversial as they come—an irreverent singer, sports celebrity, and satirist whose brilliant blogs and books have made him a huge celebrity with more than half a billion readers. Now, with this collection of his essays, Americans can appreciate the range of this rising literary star and get a fascinating trip through Chinese culture.
This Generation gathers his essays and blogs dating from 2006 to the present, telling the story of modern China through Han Han’s unique perspective. Writing on topics as diverse as racing, relationships, the Beijing Olympics, and how to be a patriot, he offers a brief, funny, and illuminating trip through a complex nation that most Westerners view as marching in lockstep. As much a millennial time capsule as an entertaining and invaluable way for English readers to understand our rising Eastern partner and rival, This Generation introduces a dazzling talent to American shores.
Over the past five years, Han, an insouciant public figure and dashing race car driver, has been churning out blog posts and brief essays with dizzying speed. Ranging over topics from political reform to prostitutes, Han's often sarcastic and regularly satirical writings have been censored by the Chinese government but have won him adoring fans throughout China and around the world. Perhaps because of the translation and perhaps because of the flat-as-pavement prose itself, the blog posts in this first-ever volume of Han's work introduce us to pedestrian observations on any number of subjects. Han reflects on the value of requiring the writing of essays in an academic setting, for example: "Writing essays essentially is a hobby, a love, like gardening or fishing it's not something you can force people to do." On the faltering management of the Chinese government by its officials: "I realize that many things are actually not a problem to begin with, but once officials start to intervene, a small thing becomes big, and big thing blows up in their faces."