My latest review is in the South China Morning Post, here. I’m afraid I wasn’t too enthusiastic. Great idea, but a rather clumsy execution. If you would like a counterpoint, Jeffrey Wasserstrom was rather more positive in the Wall Street Journal.

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One thought on “Review – “Last Boat Out of Shanghai” by Helen Zia

  1. Dear Mike Cormack–I am the author of this NONFICTION book that you have reviewed and critiqued as if it were a NOVEL and a work of FICTION, which you state repeatedly throughout your review. I’m sorry to say that your review makes little sense because my book is NOT a NOVEL. Perhaps you could do me the courtesy of re-reading and reconsidering your review. Please look at the headline that accompanies your review about “REAL LIFE STORIES” — vs the novel that you thought you were reviewing. By the way, I agree that James Clavell is a fine NOVELIST but it seems a stretch to compare his work to my NONfiction book. I have never written a novel as all my writing has been journalistic chronicles or nonfiction books.
    I would like to offer an invitation to you: I will be coming to Hong Kong from March 26-28 and would welcome the opportunity to meet you in person, as I’d like to understand how you arrived at your review on scmp.org, and why now you are repeating this error on your website.
    In addition, for anyone who would like to learn about my book directly, I will be speaking on March 27 at the Chinese University of Hong Kong at noontime; at the Hong Kong Baptist University at 4pm, and at the Shanghai American Center at 6pm. (please check times with the host). On March 28, I will present my book at the Foreign Correspondents Club on March 28 at a breakfast presentation, and at the Hong Kong University Library in the evening. Mike, if you wish to come to any of those events, I would be delighted to discuss the difference between fact vs fiction with you. I would also like to understand why you think it is a bad to have considerable historical information in a history book of nonfiction. And for readers, why rely on a review? You can obtain it at the library, or purchased it at Swindon’s and online. Thanks, Mike, feel free to pm me and I hope to meet you in person.
    Sincerely, Helen Zia, Author of Last Boat out of Shanghai: The Epic Story of the Chinese who Fled Mao’s Revolution

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