This blog occasionally features interventions from Michael Arnold, the Kiwi expat who has for years now been dispatching reports on life in China from the far side of that country's Great Firewall. Now the Dilworth College old boy has published his first book, a handsomely designed study of the city of Wuxi. Here's the capsule review at Amazon:
THE WUXI LEGACY is one of those rare treasures for anyone interested in China. But this should come as no surprise, as its author, Michael Arnold, is one of those rare writers who not only has a passion for China and its culture, but also an understanding of what readers will find most enthralling. When these attributes are combined with his polished style the result is a book that is a total pleasure from start to finish. Arnold combines just the right amount of history (never too little, never too much) with warm observations and descriptions of present-day Wuxi in a way that makes the reader want to catch a flight without delay (with his book in hand) to this obviously charming city.
Never heard of Wuxi? Nor had I. Are we Kiwis an ignorant lot or what? It's a good job we have Michael Arnold to enlighten us.
Footnote: read The Wuxi Legacy instead of the latest Harry Potter rubbish, which Nicholas Lezard has just pre-empted on the Guardian website. Potter fans buzz about in the comments box below Lezard's article...