Age of Ambition: Chasing Fortune, Truth and Faith in the New China by Evan Osnos; The Emperor Far Away: Travels at the Edge of China by David Eimer - review by Nick Holdstock

Nick Holdstock

From Beijing to Xinjiang

Age of Ambition: Chasing Fortune, Truth and Faith in the New China

By

The Bodley Head 403pp £20 order from our bookshop

The Emperor Far Away: Travels at the Edge of China

By

Bloomsbury 322pp £20 order from our bookshop
 

Sometimes China seems almost impossible to write about in any meaningful sense. While every country has regional, social and cultural variations, in China these internal differences – between east and west, rich and poor and so on – are often too profound to reconcile easily. Even the hoary notion that the entire country is under the unwavering control of the Communist Party fractures under scrutiny. Many aspects of power are decentralised, and protests over corruption, pollution and landgrabs are common.

One solution is to offer a perspective on China that’s broad enough to be useful, yet still acknowledges the country’s diversity. Evan Osnos’s first book, Age of Ambition, tells the story of the last ten years in China by exploring the different ways in which people there have pursued wealth,

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