When four British citizens are kidnapped in Cairo, they soon realise this is no ordinary hostage situation: the accommodation is three star and the menu à la carte. Without the deep regrets and thwarted ambitions of their lives back home, they soon come to view their kidnapping as a welcome escape.
They are the captives of the Serendipity Foundation, a tiny collective with a millennium-old prophecy to fulfil and a rather redeeming quality: they only demand ransoms that people would want to give.
As the ransom demands begin, the British government has no choice but to play along... can they really allow four men to die because parliament refuses to conduct Prime Minister’s Questions in Haiku? As the threats and demands escalate, so does the tension, until they challenge the very foundations and assumptions of the media, industry and society.
The Serendipity Foundation, bursting with the satirical deftness of a Douglas Coupland and the subversive intensity of an Owen Jones, is a thrilling yet endearing satirical novel for the new political generation that will make us question why we settle for a lesser world when we have the power to make it better.
The young and beautiful Wild Ginger is only in elementary school, but has already survived hell through her sheer iron will. Singled out by the Red Guards for her “foreign-colored eyes,” she has seen her deceased father branded a traitor and her mother commit suicide under the oppressive weight of persecution. But the young Wild Ginger will not allow herself to be taken down. Nor will she turn her back on other martyrs—like sweet Maple, daughter of a teacher of Chinese history, survivor of a labor camp, and victim of daily brutal beatings by a gang girl called Hot Pepper.
While the two become fast friends over their shared ostracism, it is Wild Ginger who will take her Maoist principles to the extreme, becoming no less than a national model for the revolutionary Communist doctrine. But when both self-possessed young girls begin to feel a prohibited romantic love for the same boy, all three of them will face mortal danger.
In this novel, the author of Pearl of China and the New York Times Notable Book Red Azalea “continues her extraordinarily acute inquiry into the wounded psyches of martyrs…and survivors of China's horrific Cultural Revolution… As in all her unsparing, compelling, and transcendent books, Min discerns both the vulnerability and strength of individuals and, more disturbingly, unveils the eroticism of pain. Given our own times, Min's taut and compassionate tale of oppressed teenagers kept in ignorance of the wider world, children brainwashed into performing acts of violence and self-destruction, is especially urgent.”—Booklist
Mordant and absurdist touches abound in Panic, a hilarious, often heartrending comedy of manners from Chinas Roaring Nineties. Liang depicts modern, dysfunctional man as being hopelessly badgered by hypercapitalist performance ratings while Marx and Lenin look on. Deaf, likewise, is high comedy, spinning multiple allegories of truth, faith, and the human condition. Fluently and gracefully translated, these two stories capture the spiritual chaos of todays China, a place as far removed from the exotic Qing Dynasty court as it is from the political and social turmoil of the Cultural Revolution.