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The Best Audiobooks China and Korea

 

Audiobooks China

Kinder Than Solitude - Yiyun Li and Angela Lin 2015

The childhood friends Moran, Ruyu, and Boyang are involved in a mysterious accident in which a friend of theirs is poisoned. But was it an accident?

Years later when they are grown up and all live their own lives, Morann and Ruyu in America and Boyand in China, they are still haunted by what happened when they were young. Will they eventually find out the true circumstances of that day, might one of them have committed a murder?

Do Not Say We Have Nothing - Madeleine Thien and Angela Lin 2016

Shortlisted for the International Bookers Prize 2016

Ten-year-old Marie and her mother invite a young woman called Ai-Ming into their home. Ai-Ming has fled China in the aftermath of the Tiananmen Square protests.  Ai-Ming tells Marie the story of her family in revolutionary China and about the three musicians - composer Sparrow, the violin prodigy Zhuli, and the pianist Kai. During the Cultural Revolution they all struggled to remain loyal to one another but also to the music they had devoted their lives to. 

China Dolls: A Novel - Lisa See and Jodi Long 2014

Just years before the outbreak of the Second World War three young women meet at the  Forbidden City nightclub in San Francisco.  The girls Grace, Helen and Ruby all have a Chinese background but face different challenges. By sharing their past secrets and future dreams they become fast friends. But with the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, distrust and suspicion threaten to destroy their friendship and an act of betrayal changes everything.

The Four Books - Yan Lianke and Carlos Rojas 2015

Hundreds of intellectuals are imprisoned in a labour camp to restore their commitment to the Communist ideologies. Inside the camp the prisoners are encouraged to inform on each other for dissident behaviour, so they can gain political favour and the chance at freedom. They are supervised by ‘The Child” and his draconian rules. When the quotas for steel production and grain harvesting 

are set unattainable high, the prisoners face exhaustion and famine and they will go to extremes to survive.

Mambo in Chinatown - Jean Kwok and Angela Lin, 2014

Charlie Wong grows up in New York’s Chinatown, she is the daughter of Chinese parents. Her mother, a former Beijing ballerina, died and Charlie is now living with her father, a noodle maker, and her younger sister in a small apartment. Unsure of her cultural identity, she feels that her world is limited. But when she gets a job at a ballroom dance studio she starts dreaming of a glamorous future. When her sister gets sick and her father wants to treat her only with eastern medicine she is torn between her newfound western identity and the Chinese traditions of her father.

Life and Death are Wearing Me Out - Mo Yan and Howard Goldblatt 2016

This book explores China's development from 1950 until 2000 through the eyes of Ximen Nao,  a 30 year old landowner, who is executed during Mao Zedong's land reform movement in 1948 so that his land could be redistributed. In the underworld Ximen Nao meets Lord Yama who sends him back to earth where he is reborn as a donkey in his village in 1950. In subsequent reincarnations as animals he is finally  being born again as a man, the writer Mo Yan himself. Through the lives of his various reincarnations we are told about the political movements that swept China under Communist Party rule, including the Great Chinese Famine and Cultural Revolution.

Iron & Silk - Mark Salzman 2002 Audiocasette

For two years, the American born Mark Salzman is a teacher English at the Changsha Medical University. While he is in China, he learns the Chinese martial arts from kung fu movie actor and martial arts master Pan Qingfu.

In this book he describes his experiences in China, about his relationship with Pan Qingfu, about the political activists he meets and his travels through the country.

Wolf Totem - Jiang Rong and Jason Culp 2015

Chen Zhen, a Beijing college student, volunteers to work in China’s remote Inner Mongolia region as part of a movement to modernise the countryside. As he admires the balanced lifestyle of the nomadic herdsmen there, he also grows fascinated by the fierce and otherworldly Mongolian wolf. But when government policies threaten the wolves’ extinction, he sees an unfolding ecological tragedy—and a parable for China’s explosive growth.

Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress - Dai Sijie and B.D. Wong 2002

During the Cultural Revolution, two teenage friends, Luo and the narrator, are among hundreds of thousands exiled to the countryside for 're-education', because they are the sons of intellectuals.  In a remote village, among the peasants of Phoenix mountain, they carry buckets of excrement up and down winding paths and work in a coal mine. Luo and the narrator meet Four-Eyes, the son of a poet, who is also being re-educated. Four-Eyes is hiding a secret set of foreign novels that are forbidden by Chinese law. One of these banned books is from the writer Honoré de Balzac. They also meet the daughter of the local tailor, the little seamstress. With Luo's help the little seamstress learns about the outside world by reading the banned literature and as the two boys flirt with the seamstress and secretly devour the banned literature, the two friends find delight from their grim surroundings. And even the life of the Little Seamstress will be forever transformed.

Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China - Jung Chang and Pik-sen Lim 2015

This is the author's family history that spans the twentieth century, recounting the lives of three female generations in China and contains the biographies of Jung Chang’s grandmother, her mother, and finally her own story: from a daughter of the communist elite and member of the Red Guards to being expelled to the countryside for re-education.

When Jung Chang’s grandmother’s was a child her feet were bound and at a young age she was given to a warlord general as a concubine. As the general lay dying, she fled with her infant daughter. That daughter grew up to become active in the communist movement during the civil war against the Kuomintang.  Following the Communist victory in 1949 she and her husband became senior officials. Their daughter Jung Chang, was raised in the privileged circles of China’s communist elite. But during the Cultural revolution her parents were denounced and tortured and Jung Chang herself was exiled to the edge of the Himalayas.

Whispering Shadows: A Novel - Jan-Philipp Sendker and George Newbern 2015

American expat Paul Leibovitz lives on Lamma, an outlying island of Hong Kong. Paul’s young son Justin died and Paul is divorced and retired from work and by  living on Lamma he tries to isolate himself from the world.

Until one day he meets Elizabeth, a woman who went to Hong Kong with her husband Richard to look for their missing son Richard, who is managing the family's business. Day’s later the body of Richard is found in Shenzhen. Together with his Chinese friend Zhang, who is a homicide detective in Shenzhen, they set on a dangerous journey to investigate the circumstances surrounding the murder of Richard.

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Audio books North Korea and South Korea

 

The Vegetarian: A Novel - Han Kang and Janet Song 2016

Yeong-hye and her husband live an ordinary life. But dreams of blood and cruelty torture Yeong-hye at night and one day she decides to become a vegetarian. This decision sets into motion an increasingly grotesque chain of events at home interrupting her marriage and the relations with the people she loves. 

Without You, There Is No Us: Undercover Among the Sons of North Korea's Elite - Suki Kim and Janet Song 2014

It is 2011 and all universities in North Korea have been shut down for an entire year, the students sent to construction fields—except for the 270 students at Pyongyang University of Science and Technology (PUST), a walled compound where Suki Kim has accepted a job teaching English. Life at PUST is lonely and claustrophobic. Suki’s has almost no contact with the outside world, letters are read by censors and she cannot phone. Over the next six months, she will teach her pupils English, but as the weeks pass, she learns how easily her students lie in their obedience to the regime.

And when Kim Jong-Il dies, and the boys she has come to love appear devastated, she wonders whether the gap between her world and theirs can ever be bridged.

The Calligrapher's Daughter: A Novel - Eugenia Kim and Lorna Raver 2009

Set in early-twentieth-century Korea, Najin Han, the daughter of a calligrapher, is sent to serve in the king’s court as a companion to a young princess. But when the king is assassinated, the centuries-old dynasty comes to its end and Najin wants to choose her own path, despite the oppressive traditions and the political turmoil of the war and the Japanese occupation.

My Holiday in North Korea: The Funniest/Worst Place on Earth - Wendy E. Simmons and Jeena Yi 2016

For 10 days Photographer Wendy Simmons went on a 'North Korea is Great! America is Not!' tourist tour through North Korea. She’s attached by a virtual shock-collar to two female handlers who monitor her every step and guard their every word. Worse, she can’t seem to get a straight answer from anyone, ever. “Everyone in North Korea lies to you about everything, all the time”. Since any response Wendy gets is equally likely to be true or not true she slowly begins to question her own sanity.

Through poignant, humour full essays and 92 published colour photographs of North Korea, the author chronicles one of the strangest vacations ever.

Escape from Camp 14: One Man's Remarkable Odyssey from North Korea to Freedom in the West - Blaine Harden 2012

As a child of political prisoners, Shin Dong-hyuk was born in Labor Camp 14. He spent 23 years between the prison walls and had many hardships to endure. The guards raised him to be a snitch, and he witnessed the execution of his mother and brother. Hearing stories of a better outside world and with the courage and hope for survival Shin could escape out of the most sealed off country of the world. 

The Orphan Master's Son: A Novel of North Korea - Adam Johnson and Tim Kang 2012

The novel was awarded the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.

 

Pak Jun Do is the son of the master of Long Tomorrows, a work camp for orphans. Because of his loyalty Jun Do rises in the ranks of the bureaucracy and he becomes a spy, a kidnapper and surveillance officer. He falls in love with Sun Moon, the greatest opera star ever. But eventually his role as hero of the state is turned into one of a prisoner in a labor camp. 

Forgotten Country - Catherine Chung and Emily Woo Zeller 2012

The night before Janie’s sister, Hannah, is born, her grandmother tells her a story about the past and Janie is told to keep Hannah safe. Years later, when Hannah cuts all ties with her family and disappears, Janie goes to find her. Thus begins a journey that will force her to confront the truth behind her parents’ sudden move to America twenty years earlier, and her own conflicted feelings toward Hannah.

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