Best Novels That Take Place in China

Must be a novel (fiction) and must take place in China. No restriction on time period.
1

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4.06 avg rating — 313,049 ratings
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2

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3.98 avg rating — 205,039 ratings
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3

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3.91 avg rating — 551,948 ratings
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4

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3.89 avg rating — 123,731 ratings
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5

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3.99 avg rating — 66,456 ratings
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6

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3.98 avg rating — 109,178 ratings
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7

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3.59 avg rating — 39,431 ratings
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8

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3.63 avg rating — 47,187 ratings
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9

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3.99 avg rating — 37,393 ratings
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10

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4.07 avg rating — 51,548 ratings
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11

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4.26 avg rating — 39,757 ratings
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12

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3.80 avg rating — 7,581 ratings
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13

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3.88 avg rating — 20,285 ratings
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14

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4.05 avg rating — 5,504 ratings
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15

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3.50 avg rating — 17,386 ratings
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16

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3.92 avg rating — 30,715 ratings
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17

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3.88 avg rating — 40 ratings
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18

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4.01 avg rating — 4,933 ratings
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19

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4.12 avg rating — 10,779 ratings
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20

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4.24 avg rating — 34,003 ratings
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21

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3.94 avg rating — 13,813 ratings
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22

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3.73 avg rating — 4,451 ratings
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23

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3.42 avg rating — 27,385 ratings
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24

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3.34 avg rating — 346 ratings
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25

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3.47 avg rating — 21,434 ratings
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26

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3.69 avg rating — 5,234 ratings
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27

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3.98 avg rating — 14,349 ratings
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28

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3.91 avg rating — 14,753 ratings
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29

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4.17 avg rating — 179,662 ratings
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30

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3.24 avg rating — 82 ratings
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31

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3.83 avg rating — 4,109 ratings
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32

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4.11 avg rating — 3,178 ratings
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33

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3.57 avg rating — 3,780 ratings
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34

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3.89 avg rating — 3,053 ratings
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35

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3.99 avg rating — 4,497 ratings
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36

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3.70 avg rating — 5,066 ratings
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37

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3.38 avg rating — 100 ratings
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38

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3.93 avg rating — 14 ratings
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39

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3.99 avg rating — 109 ratings
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40

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4.21 avg rating — 1,388 ratings
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41

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3.33 avg rating — 19,072 ratings
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42

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3.97 avg rating — 2,450 ratings
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43

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3.78 avg rating — 110 ratings
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44

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3.66 avg rating — 2,319 ratings
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45

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3.93 avg rating — 41 ratings
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46

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3.62 avg rating — 35,575 ratings
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47

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3.81 avg rating — 7,330 ratings
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48

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4.41 avg rating — 3,231 ratings
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49

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4.34 avg rating — 585 ratings
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50

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3.77 avg rating — 3,799 ratings
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51

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3.95 avg rating — 152 ratings
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52

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4.28 avg rating — 4,831 ratings
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53

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4.30 avg rating — 2,006 ratings
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54

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3.88 avg rating — 1,601 ratings
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55

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3.94 avg rating — 1,155 ratings
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56

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3.51 avg rating — 4,475 ratings
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57

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3.87 avg rating — 4,631 ratings
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58

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3.95 avg rating — 13,955 ratings
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59

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3.21 avg rating — 4,006 ratings
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60

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3.55 avg rating — 22 ratings
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61

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3.96 avg rating — 2,798 ratings
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62

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3.76 avg rating — 1,284 ratings
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63

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3.97 avg rating — 99 ratings
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64

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3.66 avg rating — 1,132 ratings
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65

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4.05 avg rating — 934 ratings
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66

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3.82 avg rating — 7,082 ratings
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67

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3.70 avg rating — 10,260 ratings
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68

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3.75 avg rating — 1,239 ratings
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69

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3.77 avg rating — 3,032 ratings
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70

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4.23 avg rating — 1,739 ratings
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71

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3.90 avg rating — 29,996 ratings
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72

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3.64 avg rating — 1,887 ratings
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73

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4.17 avg rating — 143 ratings
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74

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4.33 avg rating — 445 ratings
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75

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3.48 avg rating — 1,939 ratings
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76

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4.29 avg rating — 8,856 ratings
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77

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3.75 avg rating — 1,416 ratings
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78

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4.43 avg rating — 500 ratings
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79

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4.20 avg rating — 188 ratings
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80

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4.28 avg rating — 957 ratings
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80

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3.41 avg rating — 1,537 ratings
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82

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3.73 avg rating — 21,306 ratings
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83

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3.85 avg rating — 2,931 ratings
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84

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3.82 avg rating — 17 ratings
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85

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3.89 avg rating — 102,463 ratings
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86

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4.11 avg rating — 1,066 ratings
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87

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3.84 avg rating — 254 ratings
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88

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3.81 avg rating — 1,631 ratings
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89

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4.03 avg rating — 1,038 ratings
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90

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4.08 avg rating — 1,202 ratings
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91

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3.82 avg rating — 836 ratings
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92

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3.52 avg rating — 1,735 ratings
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93

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3.80 avg rating — 3,672 ratings
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94

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3.85 avg rating — 1,215 ratings
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95

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4.11 avg rating — 4,183 ratings
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96

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4.03 avg rating — 896 ratings
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97

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4.33 avg rating — 457 ratings
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98

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4.33 avg rating — 436 ratings
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99

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3.98 avg rating — 1,538 ratings
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100

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3.92 avg rating — 1,700 ratings
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334 books · 991 voters · list created January 11th, 2009 by Melinda (votes) .
306 likes · 
Lists are re-scored approximately every 5 minutes.


Melinda 1461 books
43 friends
Susanna - Censored by GoodReads 3057 books
784 friends
John 1673 books
122 friends
Selena 1537 books
89 friends
Diane 8505 books
144 friends
Liz 411 books
42 friends
Katie 421 books
3 friends
Janice 262 books
28 friends

More voters…


Comments Showing 1-38 of 38 (38 new)

dateDown arrow    newest »

Themis-Athena (Lioness at Large) What am I not remembering about Murakami's "Wind-Up Bird Chronicle" that justifies it being included here?


message 2: by Thom (new)

Thom Dunn Themis-Athena wrote: "What am I not remembering about Murakami's "Wind-Up Bird Chronicle" that justifies it being included here?"
There's a long sequence that takes place in China & Mongolia--Is it a story that the hero's mentor tells him ? With Murakami, it were a needless quibble to say that what is reported does not "take place in", IMHO.


Themis-Athena (Lioness at Large) :face-palm: :) Of course ...

Thanks for jogging my cat-littered memory.


message 4: by Alessandra (new)

Alessandra Are science fiction and fantasy novels acceptable?


message 6: by Catherine (new)

Catherine O'Neill Thorn I read an amazing book when I was 12 (quite a while ago!) about a young girl who was in China during the revolution. It had 12 Moons or something like that in the title and was published before 1976. Anybody?


message 7: by Asagao (new)

Asagao Themis-Athena wrote: "Removed for not being novels:
Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China
Falling Leaves: The Memoir of an Unwanted Chinese Daughter
Chinese Cinderella: The True Story of an Unwanted Daughter
China: Portr..."


Factory Girls isn't a novel and Girl in Translation takes place in the U.S.


message 8: by Stuart (new)

Stuart Hill Themis-Athena wrote: "Removed for not being novels:
Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China
Falling Leaves: The Memoir of an Unwanted Chinese Daughter
Chinese Cinderella: The True Story of an Unwanted Daughter
China: Portr..."


Can Red Azalea be removed, as it is non-fiction.


Themis-Athena (Lioness at Large) Stuart wrote: "TCan Red Azalea be removed, as it is non-fiction."

Removed -- likewise Factory Girls: From Village to City in a Changing China and Girl in Translation.


message 10: by Stuart (new)

Stuart Hill Themis-Athena wrote: "Stuart wrote: "TCan Red Azalea be removed, as it is non-fiction."

Removed -- likewise Factory Girls: From Village to City in a Changing China and Girl in Translation."


Thanks.


message 11: by Hope (last edited Feb 09, 2014 06:40AM) (new)

Hope Catherine wrote: "I read an amazing book when I was 12 (quite a while ago!) about a young girl who was in China during the revolution. It had 12 Moons or something like that in the title and was published before 197..."

I'm thinking you mean "Eighth Moon" by Betty Bao Lord. I read this in school around the same age too.


message 12: by Julie (new)

Julie Someone needs to edit this list again. There are a ton of non-fiction books on here.


message 13: by Stuart (new)

Stuart Hill Julie wrote: "Someone needs to edit this list again. There are a ton of non-fiction books on here."

Yes, Chinese Cinderella: The True Story of an Unwanted Daughter for one.


message 14: by Denise (new)

Denise The Story of the Stone, Vol. 1: The Golden Days and Dream of the Red Chamber are the same story by Cao Xueqin though they do have different translators. Should they be combined?


message 15: by Melinda (new)

Melinda Denise wrote: "The Story of the Stone, Vol. 1: The Golden Days and Dream of the Red Chamber are the same story by Cao Xueqin though they do have different translators. Should they be combined?"

If they are the same story with no added content, they should be combined and then re-added to the list.


message 17: by Letitia (new)

Letitia Does Memoirs of a Geisha take place in China? I thought it took place entirely in Japan, but I could be wrong.


message 18: by Syed (new)

Syed I read a book sometime in 70s or early 80s about 2 brothers who moved from USA to Shanghai, one went in publishing journalism & was a great guy. I am thinking this plot was from 30s or 40s. I cannot recollect the name. I enjoyed reading this novel. It had a profound impact on me just like Lost Horizons.
Does any one remember this??


message 19: by Syed (new)

Syed I read a book sometime in 70s or early 80s about 2 brothers who moved from USA to Shanghai, one went in publishing journalism & was a great guy. I am thinking this plot was from 30s or 40s. I cannot recollect the name. I enjoyed reading this novel. It had a profound impact on me just like Lost Horizons.
Does any one remember this??


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads Have you tried the GR group "What's the name of this book?"


message 21: by Tamara✨ (new)

Tamara✨ Detective Inspector Chen is set in SINGAPORE! Like a futuristic version! Not China...


message 22: by Lexxi Kitty (new)

Lexxi Kitty Tamara wrote: "Detective Inspector Chen is set in SINGAPORE! Like a futuristic version! Not China..."

Just a note for anyone coming along to clean stuff up, since there at least two Inspector Chen's on this list, the Inspector Chen Cao series by Qiu Xiaolong, are set in China in, roughly, the 1990s. Though I do believe one might be set in the USA. He is an inspector for the Shanghai Police Bureau.

There is at least one Inspector Chen book, though, that I see set in Singapore on this list. Snake Agent


message 23: by Melaslithos (new)

Melaslithos Letitia wrote: "Does Memoirs of a Geisha take place in China? I thought it took place entirely in Japan, but I could be wrong."

I don't remember it taking place in China either.


message 24: by Stuart (new)

Stuart Hill The following are non-fiction so should not be in this list: Chinese Cinderella: The True Story of an Unwanted Daughter by Adeline Yen Mah , Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China by Jung Chang, Red Azalea by Anchee Min, Born Red: A Chronicle of the Cultural Revolution by Gao Yuan.


message 25: by Melinda (new)

Melinda Deleted for irrelevance (per comments above):
—Memoirs of a Geisha
—Chinese Cinderella: The True Story of an Unwanted Daughter
—Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China
—Red Azalea
—Born Red: A Chronicle of the Cultural Revolution


message 26: by Stuart (new)

Stuart Hill Thanks Melinda.


message 27: by James (new)

James Lande Please add to your list the novel Yang Shen by James Lande, Thank you.


message 28: by Charles (new)

Charles Laughlin Julie wrote: "Someone needs to edit this list again. There are a ton of non-fiction books on here." I realize that including non-fiction is against the stated rule of the list, but there is a lot of great non-fiction both originally in English and in translation from Chinese, and it deserves as much recognition as the fiction. I suspect that even if there is a non-fiction list, it will be a ghetto and not frequented except by aficionados of non-fiction, which does not do justice to a lot of works of substantial literary that take place in China. Why the bias toward fiction? Couldn't it be "the greatest stories that take place in China"?


message 29: by Charles (new)

Charles Laughlin I'm surprised nobody mentioned that Tripmaster Monkey does not take place in China. It's a great novel, but the China piece is constituted only by lore and mediated memories.


message 30: by Charles (new)

Charles Laughlin Melinda wrote: "Denise wrote: "The Story of the Stone, Vol. 1: The Golden Days and Dream of the Red Chamber are the same story by Cao Xueqin though they do have different translators. Should they be combined?"

If..."


That sounds complicated, especially since the different volumes of Story of the Stone (The Crabflower Club, The Dreamer Wakes, The Warning Voice, The Debt of Tears) are all listed separately, and so everyone who voted for each title, and each volume of Story of the Stone, would have to re-vote for the one novel (which I suggest should be called Dream of the Red Chamber). All things being equal, when this mess is cleaned, up, this title should rank pretty highly on the list, as it is generally understood to be China's greatest novel.


message 31: by Tim (last edited Nov 17, 2016 11:30AM) (new)

Tim Symonds Tim Symonds (Goodreads author)

I'll be very pleased to have my latest Sherlock Holmes novel (November 2016) added to the novels set in China - I spent months in researching it and found one of my principal characters, the Empress Dowager Cixi, truly a world figure who should be known far better (and more objectively) than she is.

'Sherlock Holmes And The Nine-Dragon Sigil' by Tim Symonds

Where Sherlock Holmes encounters the fearsome Empress Dowager Cixi at the very height of her power…

From MX Publishing, and Gardners, and all good bookstores and on Amazon November 21 2016. www.mxpublishing.co.uk

First review of the 'Nine-Dragon Sigil' https://www.readingalley.com/book/vie...

Sigil. Pronounced sijil. An inscribed or painted symbol or occult sign considered to have magical power

It's the year 1906. Rumours abound that a deadly plot is hatching - not in the fog-ridden back-alleys of London's Limehouse district or the sinister Devon moors of the Hound of the Baskervilles but in faraway Peking. Holmes's task - discover whether such a plot exists and if so, foil it.
But are the assassins targeting the young and progressive Ch'ing Emperor or his imperious aunt, the fearsome Empress Dowager Cixi?

The murder of either could spark a civil war.

China's fate and the interests of Britain's Empire in the Orient could be at stake.

Holmes and Watson take up the mission with their customary confidence – until they find they are no longer in the familiar landscapes of Edwardian England. Instead, they tumble into the Alice In Wonderland world of The Forbidden City.


Tim Symonds was born in London. He grew up in Somerset, Dorset and the Channel Island of Guernsey. After several years travelling widely, including farming in the Highlands of Kenya and living along the Zambezi River in Central Africa, he emigrated to the United States. He studied at Göttingen, in Germany, and the University of California, Los Angeles, graduating Phi Beta Kappa in Political Science.

He is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society.

Sherlock Holmes And The Nine-Dragon Sigil was written in a converted oast house near Rudyard Kipling’s old home, Bateman’s, in the English county of East Sussex.

Other detective novels by the author include -

Sherlock Holmes And The Mystery Of Einstein’s Daughter, Sherlock Holmes And The Case Of The Bulgarian Codex; Sherlock Holmes And The Dead Boer At Scotney Castle, and Sherlock Holmes And The Sword Of Osman.

Website http://tim-symonds.co.uk/


message 32: by Maria (new)

Maria Fitzpatrick Lost in translation, isn't that Japan?


message 33: by Samuel (new)

Samuel From Emperor To Citizen: The Autobiography Of Aisin Gioro Pu Yi shouldn't be on this list since it isn't fiction.


message 34: by Susanna - Censored by GoodReads (last edited Feb 12, 2017 09:50AM) (new)

Susanna - Censored by GoodReads I suspect On Gold Mountain (#60) doesn't belong there, either.

ETA: Would be easier to remove From Emperor to Citizen if I knew where on the list it was.


message 35: by Samuel (new)

Samuel Susanna - Censored by GoodReads wrote: "I suspect On Gold Mountain (#60) doesn't belong there, either.

ETA: Would be easier to remove From Emperor to Citizen if I knew where on the list it was."


It's #219


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads Thanks very much - I'll go nab it. (I removed On Gold Mountain already.)


message 37: by Aurora (new)

Aurora The famous non fiction works are back...


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads What are the titles and where are they on the list? (Makes them much easier to remove.)


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