What’s the best book you have read about Taiwan?


A few other good books:
Missionary MacKay’s memoir
A memoir by a sailor landed on Formosa (forgot the title of this book) - have many interesting stories with insightful observations

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“Taipei People” (Pai Hsien-yung) These fictional portraits of (mostly displaced Chinese) people living in Taipei are vivid and affecting. Not really concerned with the Taiwanese, so much as Mainlanders longing for a return home, but highly recommended all the same. Definitely the most literary of the books mentioned here.

“Taiwan’s Struggles” (ed. Shyu-Tu Lee & Jack F. Williams) This is full of fascinating reflections on many vital issues. Well-written, illuminating essays about modern political and personal struggles for national identity.

“Orphan of Asia” (fiction) by Wu Zhuoliu is very good and I enjoyed his similar “The Fig Tree” (non-fiction) even more. (That said, I may’ve appreciated Orphan of Asia more had I read the Fig Tree first.) They both give a great, immediate sense of a life lived under Japanese colonial rule and then during the post-war period, high lighting the struggle for cultural identity on a personal/national level. Both are written with a degree of restraint, which I very much appreciated. (Those looking for higher drama may find them a bit dry.)

“Unbroken Chain: Anthology of Taiwan Fiction Since 1926” (ed. Joseph S.M. Lau). This collection offers many excellent short stories by a great number of authors, giving the reader a great sense of the concerns of the day. A bit uneven, but overall very good.


A new list of non-fiction books on Taiwan.

‘Forbidden nation’ is a great book, which I read a few months back.

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The best book that I have ever read about Taiwan seems to be currently unveiling itself off the starboard bow. It begins with