15 May 2012
Was it deliberate that the main character's name begins with a 'K'? Kafka has always been an important influence on me. The oppressive suffocation at the societal and psychological level his works depict so well are also treated in Kuan's Wonderland. There is a running tribute to Kafkaesque confinement through the novel. The real significance of Kuan's name, however, lies elsewhere.
08 May 2012
Kuan is not just escaping from different characters who pose a threat to him, but from different levels of predicament. Through his eyes, we come to see what is the real threat he must struggle against, within himself and out there in the world. For this reason, the novel is both a story about how others may hold us down by force or deceit, and a psychological thriller about the danger of not understanding our own fears.
07 May 2012
Shiyan is fast changing. The question is whether anyone should be happy to see those changes. If it makes you think about what China is becoming, or for that matter, America or any powerful country, then it's all to the good. Shiyan is not a mirror to any particular nation. It is a world where disturbing things are happening without too many serious objections being raised. But then Kuan arrives.