Borrowed Writers on Borrowed Time
When I first moved to Hong Kong, at a time when 1997 was still something of an open question, I was advised by my Chinese boss to read James Clavell's Noble House. The events described in the book – apartment blocks sliding down the hillside, the floating restaurant catching on fire, the bank runs – really happened, he told me. And the white taipans were accurately portrayed, he claimed: vengeful, self-centered and manipulative. These were the people running his hometown.