Our titles in Asian literature are frequently reviewed but is always particularly gratifying when they are praised by reviewers in Asia. Most recently, the Taipei Times gave a glowing review to Courtesans and Opium: Romantic Illusions of the Fool of Yangzhou.
The novel written by an anonymous author and translated here by Patrick Hanan, depicts the brothels of Yangzhou and the lives of its customers and the women who work there. From the review:
So, what does this literary trail-blazer have to offer? It’s about the loves and fortunes — often misfortunes too — of five married males who are all enthusiastic brothel-goers. Two things are clear about them, as Patrick Hanan, the book’s highly accomplished translator, explains. First, they are by no means unhappy in the experiences they encounter, so that the novel’s ostensible function as a warning to future customers is undermined from the very beginning. And second, the women they fall for are a long way from being only exploitative gold-diggers. They too have their feelings — their pride, their hopes and their affections.
The review also mentions two other East Asian novels focused on similar themes, Nagai Kafu’s Rivalry: A Geisha’s Tale and The Sing-song Girls of Shanghai by Han Banqing. All three novels are published by Columbia University Press, leading the reviewer to praise us for our efforts in bringing Asian literature to English-language readers.
Also, you can save 50% on all three novels during our Spring Sale.