Literature from Central Asia in English is rare; it may even be rare in the original, untranslated, given the relatively small populations and some seven decades of Soviet linguistic, literary and cultural oppression. In any event, it appears that there are just two works of Turkmen fiction available in English, both by the dissident, and exiled, writer Ak Welsapar: the novel The Tale of Aypi and this recently published collection of short stories.

Asia has a long history of the printing and dissemination of news. In his book on origins of modern journalism in India, Andrew Otis mentions bulletins published by the Chinese, handbills by the Japanese and newsletters distributed by runners. Ever since the introduction of the printing press in India in the 16th century by the Portuguese Jesuits, the European colonists and missionaries used the technology to print their newsletters.

Ascension to Death, Mamdouh Azzam, Max Weiss (trans) (Haus Publishing, June 2018)
Ascension to Death, Mamdouh Azzam, Max Weiss (trans) (Haus Publishing, June 2018)

Ascension to Death is a heartbreaking love story set against the backdrop of a conservative Druze region of southern Syria. It recounts the story of an orphan girl named Salma who falls in love with a boy from her village but is forced into an arranged marriage. Salma’s fate is controlled by her tyrannical guardian uncle, a powerful community leader with connections to the government, who is only too pleased to unload the burden of his brother’s daughter onto the first man to propose.

China has risen from developing nation status to second place in the global GDP rankings in just a decade. The resulting improved living standards and greater spending by Chinese consumers has proven a tremendous opportunity for both local Chinese and global brands. These developments were also a shock to China’s system as its own citizens sometimes struggled to keep up with the pace. Just who are Chinese consumers? What are their lives like and what are they looking for? These are the questions China’s Evolving Consumers attempts to answer. It does so, and with some success, by lifting the lid on other aspects of their lives.