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Map of Shanghai

Shanghai Noir

The Dancing Girl and the Turtle: publication date 01.04.2017

I read newspapers: the Guardian in the morning, the New York Times for lunch and occasionally the Dutch newspaper of record, NRC Handelsblad if I'm eating on the hoof. There are plenty of days, however, when the state of affairs in Trump's America causes me to slam my laptop shut.

We're seven months into this administration and I still haven't adjusted to the new reality. There's lots of advice out there ranging from earnest handbooks to cynical poses when all I really want is hope. Thank you Timothy Egan for supplying my daily dose. Rock on Pope Francis!

Thanks also to fellow writer Dipika Mukherjee for speaking last week about the creative spark. We all know these sparks come from strange places. How about the free community newspaper at the local grocery store whose headline screams: Indian babies for sale. That was the genesis of Shambala Junction, a novel about international adoption as child trafficking.

My mother reads these community newspapers. She tells me there's a Chinese telephone book, too, where you can find tree doctors and housekeepers and a certified public accountant. I hear there's one taxi dispatcher in New York City who knows all the nicknames the Chinese have given to NYC streets. Not translations but descriptive, evocative or even totally misguided names used only by the Chinese community.

We can all use a guide from time to time. Like the Poets Walk to appreciate the beauties of Leiden, the Netherlands. Or the map shown above of Shanghai 1929. It comes from A Last Look, a visual commemoration of a city that no longer exists except in the imagination. This week's post is a navigational aid through the historical and cultural back story of The Dancing Girl and the Turtle: Book Club Questions.

I hope it brings you to where you'd like to go.

p.s. If you're wondering how the blog tour is going, take a look here at all the nice press The Dancing Girl and the Turtle is  getting!

A Book Blog Tour
Martial Arts
The Art of War
Labels and Charlottesville

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