A New York Times Bestseller, the first novel in the China Coast Trilogy

 

Almost the first thing callow young Englishman John Denton sees when he steps ashore in Shanghai in 1903 is the public beheading of some pirates. Shocked and sickened though he is, he must adapt himself to the brutal but fascinating city of extremes, and he spends the rest of his life there, through all the vicissitudes of revolution, lawlessness and war. A junior customs officer in the International Settlement, he crosses a powerful triad leader, discovers corruption, loses his post, then joins his Chinese teacher in a profitable business. He enters politics, is imprisoned by the Japanese and survives to see the communists march in to mete out their own harsh brand of justice. An intricate weaving of fact with fiction, Shanghai is the story of a man at the centre of one of history's most dangerous and crucial epochs. It is also the story of the sing-song girl Su-mei, who eventually becomes his wife.

"Shanghai is a book of epic proportions, full of plots and subplots woven around historical events. " San Francisco Book Review

"An extravaganza of colorful characters, pleasing continuity and 'other world' mystery."

The Washington Post Book World Review

"Packed with history, drama and authentic detail."

Sunday Telegraph

The second novel in The China Coast Trilogy

 

Hong Kong during the Cultural Revolution in China. The colony reels under bombs, assassinations and violent demonstrations. Anglo-Russian Dimitri Johnston, a disillusioned academic, fears he may be forced to leave his birthplace, but that would only please his unhappy wife Helen, who gave up her career as a concert pianist to marry him. When Dimitri falls in love with Mila, a Chinese ballet dancer from Shanghai, the future of his marriage begins to seem as uncertain as the future of Hong Kong. Their affair continues as passionately as the increasing violence on the streets. But when they witness a demonstrator being savagely beaten by the police, and subsequently learn he has died in custody, they face agonising choices that will irretrievably change other's lives as well as their own.

 

"...a voice that is sophisticated, phlegmatic, sceptical, astute and very frequently sardonic."

South China Morning Post

 

"Read this masterpiece!"

The Best Reviews

The third novel in the China Coast Trilogy 

 

In the 1980s China and Britain are negotiating about Hong Kong's future, and many Hong Kong people are pondering their own — should they leave, or risk it and stay? Among them are wealthy Eurasian Michael Denton and his close friend Dimitri Johnston, whose son is in love with Michael's daughter. Then Michael's sister, once a convinced communist, but now an embittered victim of the Cultural Revolution, secretly contacts him to help her escape from China. To do so could be ruinous for Michael, but he feels he has no choice. Soon the fates of rich and poor, criminal and victim, become inextricably intertwined as the past comes back in unsuspected ways to haunt them all. 

"...the definitive Hong Kong novel."

Far Eastern Economic Review

"...an historical classic."

The Best Reviews

​Hong Kong, 2012. On the day Dimitri Johnston discovers he is dying, he nevertheless makes his annual pilgrimage to the candlelight vigil for the victims of the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre. There he learns that his best friend, a Chinese academic, has been arrested on the mainland for protesting against an official land grab in his ancestral village. So begins the ultimate struggle of Dimitri's life as, while battling an insidious cancer, he tries to help his persecuted colleague.

A powerful family drama set against the backdrop of the burgeoning protest movement that led to Hong Kong's Umbrella Revolution, Chinese Spring casts a disturbing light on the reality of authority and democratic dissent in modern China.

''There is a haunting quality to the novel, and it lingers in the memory long after Johnston’s tale has ended.''

The Herald

''The prose is eloquent...conveying the sheer helplessness and fearful uncertainty ordinary individuals feel when faced with the pervasive might of the world’s strongest and largest authoritarian regime.''  

Asian Review of Books

''Prescient in its themes....Relentless in its vision.''

Cha: An  Asian Literary Journal

In 1971, John Coombs, an embittered recluse with a cancer-stricken daughter, lives on an island off the coast of Hong Kong, where he is writing a doomsday book on the future of civilisation. But he is also a top cryptoanalyst, and when the British Government asks him to decipher a code which relates to an apparent Soviet plot to assassinate Mao Tse-tung, he reluctantly agrees. Sent to Moscow under cover of a mathematics congress, he obtains vital information from a dissident. However, as he becomes more involved, he himself becomes a target of the plotters, while back in Hong Kong his daughter's fragile health is beginning to fail.

 

"An espionage tale in which the victims... really bleed... An anti-hero... whose destruction is truly wrenching."

Kirkus Reviews.

Franziska Goldmann, an opera singer fallen on hard times, has become a courtesan in 19th century Hong Kong. After a chance encounter with Queen Victoria's sailor son, the musical Prince Alfred, Franziska hopes she may be able to return to her career as a singer. But it is her German anarchist lover and a devious procurer from Bombay who may ultimately determine her destiny.

 

The bestselling story of a lone woman's struggle to escape her fate, Gage Street Courtesan is also a uniquely vivid portrait of Hong Kong's demi-monde in the nineteenth century and an ironically revealing depiction of colonial society at the height of the British Empire.

 

"From the narrow city alleys, lined with opium dens and brothels, to the stage of the royal theatre...from the Chinese servant class to the higher echelons of the royal family...New presents a stark portrait of the realities of life in nineteenth-century Hong Kong...Rich in historical and observed detail...the colony is as vivid a presence in the book as Franziska herself."

Asian Review of Books.

 

"Applause for the beautiful balance of sound historical research and the frightfully vivid imagination which make up this fictional Hong Kong."

Cha: An Asian Literary Journal

In the late 1970s, Jonathan Kelley visits the princely Indian family where his grandmother was governess during the last days of the Raj. He soon detects undercurrents and strains beneath his hosts' courtly generosity. Since their elder daughter married outside her caste and community, the family has been in sad decline, and to restore its standing, Sakuntala, the romantic younger daughter, appears destined to be sacrificed in a loveless arranged marriage to the feeble-minded son of distant wealthy relatives. The tensions between East and West, tradition and modernity, grow steadily more taut as an unspoken relationship develops between Sakuntala and Jonathan.

"New has succeeded admirably in capturing a time and a place where worlds were colliding with huge velocity."

Asian Wall Street Journal

"The strength of this book is the beautifully crafted passages describing the settings and the people he characterises. And his insight that all of us are trapped by our personal, psychological and physical boundaries is expertly and subtly exposed."

South China Morning Post

Summer is ending when Peter Saunders and his wife Clare start their guided tour of Egypt, where fifty years earlier Peter had served as a young British officer during the Muslim Brotherhood's campaign to drive the British out. For Clare, this is a chance to learn something of the early love that has so scarred his life. An undercurrent is the relation of their earnest Egyptian guide both to his radical Islamist brother and to Peter's past, while their tour is punctuated by encounters with a naive young American couple whose innocent insensitivity leaves a trail of resentment behind them. Tensions mount as Peter confronts his darkest memories and Clare discovers what it was her husband has kept hidden for so long. But it is 9/11 when their tour ends, and both their guide and the naive young Americans have shocking discoveries of their own to make.

 

"While the cyclical nature of history and life are the underlying themes of Christopher New's provocative novel, it is also the moving story of the Saunders' humdrum marriage as they 'spin out the evenings of the evenings of their lives'."

South China Morning Post

 

"The novel's most painful flashback is the sinking morale felt by Grunts as fellow-soldiers get pegged off by snipers, one by one..."

Asian Wall Street Journal

Lutheran Pastor Willibald Brinkmann has a sneaking admiration for Hitler, something his Jewish wife Gabi is unable to share. Owing to Gabi's ''Jewish taint'', the family is forced to leave their prosperous German parish and find refuge in a small Austrian alpine village, where their last child – the narrator – is born. Then the Nazis arrive in Austria, and, since Willibald is weak and ambivalent, it falls mainly to Gabi to try to protect her family against the ever-tightening vice of persecution and the remorseless approach of the Final Solution. In one terrifying, yet often darkly humorous, episode after another, Gabi fights to keep her children alive in a world determined to destroy them. Then, at last, comes the dreaded knock on the door...

"A child's-eye view makes delusion and hypocrisy shockingly stark."

The Guardian

"The Jewish mother Gabi, a tempest of energy that exhausts while it saves...Sara, the burdened, responsible child...the local Nazi official, more ambitious than vicious...the housekeeper, obstinate and loyal...Christopher New gets them to the life."

The Literary Review

Lutheran Pastor Willibald Brinkmann has a sneaking admiration for Hitler, something his Jewish wife Gabi is unable to share. Owing to Gabi's ''Jewish taint'', the family is forced to leave their prosperous German parish and find refuge in a small Austrian alpine village, where their last child – the narrator – is born. Then the Nazis arrive in Austria, and, since Willibald is weak and ambivalent, it falls mainly to Gabi to try to protect her family against the ever-tightening vice of persecution and the remorseless approach of the Final Solution. In one terrifying, yet often darkly humorous, episode after another, Gabi fights to keep her children alive in a world determined to destroy them. Then, at last, comes the dreaded knock on the door...

"A child's-eye view makes delusion and hypocrisy shockingly stark."

The Guardian

"The Jewish mother Gabi, a tempest of energy that exhausts while it saves...Sara, the burdened, responsible child...the local Nazi official, more ambitious than vicious...the housekeeper, obstinate and loyal...Christopher New gets them to the life."

The Literary Review

Lutheran Pastor Willibald Brinkmann has a sneaking admiration for Hitler, something his Jewish wife Gabi is unable to share. Owing to Gabi's ''Jewish taint'', the family is forced to leave their prosperous German parish and find refuge in a small Austrian alpine village, where their last child – the narrator – is born. Then the Nazis arrive in Austria, and, since Willibald is weak and ambivalent, it falls mainly to Gabi to try to protect her family against the ever-tightening vice of persecution and the remorseless approach of the Final Solution. In one terrifying, yet often darkly humorous, episode after another, Gabi fights to keep her children alive in a world determined to destroy them. Then, at last, comes the dreaded knock on the door...

"A child's-eye view makes delusion and hypocrisy shockingly stark."

The Guardian

"The Jewish mother Gabi, a tempest of energy that exhausts while it saves...Sara, the burdened, responsible child...the local Nazi official, more ambitious than vicious...the housekeeper, obstinate and loyal...Christopher New gets them to the life."

The Literary Review

Delphinium Books published the American edition of The Kaminsky Cure in 2016.

"The Tin Drum meets Life is Beautiful in this tragicomic one-of-a-kind novel."

Kirkus starred review

''Combining Woody Allen and Mel Brooks with Anne Frank and Haulden Caulfield gives one an idea of the approach British author and philosopher Christopher New takes in this tragicomic novel. To be sure, there has been many a novel that pokes fun at the brutal absurdities of modern racism, but Third Reich comedy is still rare. In film one has, for example, To Be or Not To Be (1983) with Mel Brooks and Anne Bancroft. New shows it can be done in literature as well.''

Portland Book Reviews

A discussion of the philosophy of literature from an analytic perspective which is accessible both to students of philosophy and to students of literature.

 

"...a cogent, careful, comprehensive, balanced and authoritative introduction to the philosophical discussion of literature."

Philosophy in Review

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© 2019 by Christopher New. All rights reserved