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Chinese Shadows

4.02  ·  Rating details ·  49 Ratings  ·  5 Reviews
The second of Leys's trilogy on China's Cultural Revolution, describing the cultural and political upheaval under Mao's regime and expressing criticism of its Western supporters.
Paperback, 220 pages
Published March 30th 1978 by Penguin Books (first published January 1st 1968)
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A few years ago I really enjoyed reading Hall of uselessness by Simon Leys (the pen-name of Sinologist Pierre Ryckmans), and having read other glowing reviews of his work, including the volume under review here, I will slowly hunt them down and read them.

Chinese shadows consists of a selection of impressions from a six-month visit to China in 1974, when the country was still endeavouring to recover from the upheaval of the Cultural Revolution. Ryckmans casts a critical eye over not only the stat
Dec 07, 2014 added it
"I can only paint shadows, and is it not in their very nature to be weightless?"

"Beneath this welcoming veneer lies, unchanged, a harsh and dour reality, the reality I saw before most of its present cosmetics had been applied -- and foreigners who had stayed in Peking two or three years before me had seen it in the raw."

"ghastly diplomatic ghetto."

"There is quite a stock of these touching and funny anecdotes; it would be amusing to collect them."

"Here, since the travelers know nothing, nothing s
Francis Jan
Jun 30, 2017 rated it it was ok
Not very enticing at first, but will give someone a superficial view of the Maoist China and the impact of the Cultural Revolution.
Jul 23, 2015 rated it it was ok
I was able to borrow a copy of this book through and inter-library loan and skimmed through it in a weekend. How sad to read of the destruction of centuries of culture and history by the Maoists.
Aug 23, 2008 rated it it was amazing
a disturbing look at Mao's China
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Simon Leys is the pen-name of Pierre Ryckmans, who was born in Belgium and settled in Australia in 1970. He taught Chinese literature at the Australian National University and was Professor of Chinese Studies at the University of Sydney from 1987 to 1993. He died in Sydney in 2014.

Writing in three languages - French, Chinese and English - he played an important political role in revealing the true
More about Simon Leys...