The Winter Station By Jody Shields
Adnan Khalil
Publish Date: 05 Apr 2018

Alhawadeth Media

 

 

The Winter Station

 

By

 

Jody Shields

 

 

 

 Review by Brenda Repland

 

Based on a little-known piece of history, this is the story of the firsthand account of the Manchurian plague, affecting Kharbin in 1910, a city in China but ruled by Russia. 

 

Dead bodies, frozen in the snow, start disappearing.  No one knows – or will say – why.  But the Baron, a wealthy Russian aristocrat and Kharbin’s chief medical commissioner is determined to find out why, and what they are dying of.

 

 But when he starts investigating, he runs into a roadblock of intersecting cultures.  Russia may rule the city, but China exerts power as well.  How to handle the situation brings out the most dramatic in both sides.  Should the population be told?  If so, how much?

 

As a major railway outpost in Northern China, the contagion has the potential of affecting all of China and beyond.  Exacerbating the situation is the hysterical rumor mill.

 

The author depicts the terror that gripped a frozen station at the mercy of outside help in the land days of Imperial Russia.

 

 

 

 

 

A Tokyo Romance

 

By

 

Ian Buruma

 

Review by Brenda Repland

 

Ian Buruma has authored several books on Asia, but it was in 1975 that he determined to immerse himself in Japan.  Eschewing the “safe and slightly dull surrounding of my upper-middle-class childhood” (in The Hague, Netherlands) “a world of garden sprinklers, club ties, bridge parties and the sound of tennis balls in summer,” he headed off to Tokyo with a special interest in art and film. 

 

What he found was a city “screaming for attention,” where there was something theatrical and hallucinatory” about the place itself.  The gloom of WWII was rapidly being replaced by a “frenetic hedonism.”

 

He discovered that in a place often plagued by fires, the burned wooden houses were referred to as the “Flowers of Edo.”

 

While there could be much ambivalence about Westerners, there were also privileges afforded outsiders.  ‘It was tempting to confuse rarity with being special, even superior.”

 

He soon observed that the Japanese preferred a foreigner to act like a foreigner rather than attempting to behave in a Japanese way. 

 

With his keep perceptive abilities, the author was to experience a kind of freedom only afforded an “outsider” living in the explosively-changing culture of post-WWII Tokyo.

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