Wish Lanterns

Young Lives in New China

4.23 based on 76 ratings & 15 reviews on Goodreads.com
Picador

Publication date: 02.06.2016
ISBN: 9781447237983
Number of pages: 0

Synopsis

As read on BBC Radio 4 Book of the Week.

This is the generation that will change China. The youth, over 320 million of them in their teens and twenties, more than the population of the USA. Born after Mao, with no memory of Tiananmen, they are destined to transform both their nation and the world.

These millennials, offspring of the one-child policy, face fierce competition to succeed. Pressure starts young, and their road isn't easy. Their stories are also like those of young people all over the world: moving out of home, starting a career, falling in love.

Wish Lanterns follows the lives of six young Chinese. Dahai is a military child and netizen; 'Fred' is a daughter of the Party. Lucifer is an aspiring superstar; Snail a country migrant addicted to online games. Xiaoxiao is a hipster from the freezing north; Mia a rebel from Xinjiang in the far west.

Alec Ash, a writer in Beijing of the same generation, has given us a vivid, gripping account of young China as it comes of age. Through individual stories, Wish Lanterns shows with empathy and insight the challenges and dreams that will define China's future global impact.

In the media

You should read this book . . . Alec Ash presents us with a China we've never seen before - a young China, China that's growing not just economically but in its ways, and one that isn't scared to question itself . . . a reporter's approach to everyday stories, with thoughtful insights and historical references chosen with medical precision . . . In true journalistic fashion, the book is as in depth as it is literarily sound . . . The chapters masterfully allow the reader to make up their own mind about each of the subjects . . . it becomes a study of the self (or selves) as much as a study of China
City Weekend
An intimate portrait of six young Chinese — three women and three men — on a journey from high school into the workforce . . . Lyrical, with its characters finely drawn, Ash’s book paints a telling portrait of this most restless generation raised in a system that has provided them with unprecedented personal opportunities while denying them political ones . . . a gifted observer
The Washington Post
A masterfully crafted collection of interwoven portraits of six young Chinese. Three men, three women. Millennials born between 1985 and 1990. Their journeys from childhood, balancing parental expectations against personal desires, hopes, dreams, achievements and stumbles . . . through the telling of these six stories, Ash cleverly weaves information about demographics, government policies, political history, as well as social and cultural trends . . . The richness of Ash's book is in the character development, the details of everyday life, dreams, frustrations, and contradictions of these particular individuals. Ash enters their worlds as a peer (he is their same age) and he's a sensitive listener, reporter, and storyteller
LA Review of Books