Some 140,000 men were recruited from China during the Great War by the Allied Forces. Their mission was not to fight but to labour on the front lines. In exchange, they would (in theory) receive a salary and decent rations. The unsung heroes of the Chinese Labour Corps, whose contribution to the First World War has been mostly overlooked by historians, are given their due recognition in this touching third novel from bilingual writer, Fan Wu.

The term “Shanghailander”, coined over a hundred years ago, referred to foreigners who lived in Shanghai’s French Concession or International Settlement. In her debut novel, Shanghailanders, Juli Min has reclaimed this term for contemporary use to include a wider spectrum of expatriates and to indicate, somewhat contrary to current narratives,  that Shanghai remains—and will remain in the decades to come—an international city.

In its eclectic choice of subjects, Filipino writer Lio Mangubat’s collection of historical essays Silk, Silver, Spices, Slaves betrays its origins as a podcast. It resembles, not least due to Mangubat’s skill at spinning a good yarn, a collection of short stories rather than non-fiction pieces; and what the book lacks in an easily recognizable throughline, it more than makes up for in a readable prose style that manages to be both erudite and conversational. 

There are over sixty million “left-behind children” in China at present. These children have been “left behind” by parents who moved for work, or sometimes school. Most left-behind children grow up in rural villages, while their parents sojourn in China’s megalopolises. The phenomenon has touched the lives of Chinese families across generations, but especially since the market reforms of the Deng Xiaoping era. One left-behind child of the 1990s was Yuan Yang, the author of Private Revolutions: Four Women Face China’s New Social Order. While her parents pursued higher education, Yuan Yang spent her earliest years living in rural Sichuan Province with her maternal grandparents. Then, at the age of four, she reunited with her father and mother in England, where she would later naturalize as a British citizen.