Thursday, May 3, 2018

R. F. Kuang

Rebecca F. Kuang studies modern Chinese history. She has a BA from Georgetown University and is currently a graduate student in the United Kingdom on a Marshall Scholarship.

Kuang's new book, her debut novel, is The Poppy War.

Recently I asked the author about what she was reading. Her reply:
I like to be reading one nonfiction book and one fiction book at all times–more than that gets me distracted and makes it hard for me to pick up threads, but I need the fiction/non-fiction split to keep all parts of my brain active.

Nonfiction-wise, I’m currently reading Sam Quinones’ Dreamland: The True Tale of America’s Opiate Epidemic, which is a very careful researched and well told expose on addiction to painkillers, the OxyContin crisis, and the distribution of black tar heroin from Mexico across the United States. Quinones is writing journalistically but has the dramatic flair of a novelist, which makes this eminently readable even for a non-expert like me. It’s heart-wrenching, horrifying at parts, and deeply educational.

Fiction-wise, I’m (re)reading an advanced copy of Seth Dickinson’s The Monster Baru Cormorant, a sequel to the very well-received The Traitor Baru Cormorant. Without getting into too many spoilers, it’s the tale of an incredibly clever girl who, when faced with the colonization of her homeland, decides to seek revenge by becoming an integral part of the terrifying Empire of Masks. It’s the kind of hard fantasy that has something smart to say about just everything–sociology, gender, homosexuality and homophobia, race, and of course, economics. Highly recommend!
Visit R. F. Kuang's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Poppy War.

--Marshal Zeringue