Monday, September 28, 2009

Once on a Moonless Night by Dai Sijie, translated by Adrianna Hunter

This is a fascinating novel about an ancient silk scroll with a mysterious Buddhist sutra written on it. The last Chinese Emperor Puyi has inherited the silk scroll centuries later but torn it in half under Japanese occupation. The obsession with finding the lost half and translating the unknown manuscript of the scroll has led to linguist Paul d Ampere's imprisonment. The narrator, a French student studying at Beijing University, determines to search for the history and meaning of the scroll. She falls in love with the street vendor Tumchooq, since he may provide her with the "link." Her life then takes an unexpected course...

Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown

Dan Brown has succeeded in writing another entertaining thriller. The Lost Symbol continues the adventures of Robert Langdon, the Harvard symbologist featured in The DaVinci Code and Angels and Demons. Brown sticks to the formula that worked in those two books, so The Lost Symbol is similarly fast-paced and action packed, and loaded with esoteric historical tidbits. The setting is Washington, DC this time and Langdon is once again racing against the clock to solve a mystery protected by a secret society. Yes, it's far-fetched, but it's still fun.