The youth are the generation that will change China. There are over 320 million in their teens and twenties, more than the population of the USA. Born after Mao, natives of a nation on the rise, they are destined to have an unprecedented influence on global affairs.
These millennials, offspring of the only child policy, face fierce competition and pressure to succeed. Dislocated from their country's tumultuous past, they are caught between tradition and modernity. Their struggles are also the same as those of young people all over the world: moving out of home, starting a career, falling in love.
Wish Lanterns tells the stories of six young Chinese. Dahai is a military child and a rebel; 'Fred' is a daughter of the Party. Lucifer is an aspiring superstar; Snail a country migrant addicted to online gaming. Xiaoxiao is a hipster from the freezing north; and Mia a skinhead fashionista 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 lives, Wish Lanterns shows with empathy and insight the conflicts and challenges, dreams and wishes of China's - and the world's - future. It is a vibrant and intimate book, for readers of Katherine Boo's Behind the Beautiful Forevers and Barbara Demick's Nothing to Envy.