Novels on “Cold War Asia”

I’m working on a new book and something I like to do at this stage is read novels about the topic (for instance, the last project included Manto and Kiran Desai’s The Inheritance of Loss). I’m doing this now for the project, which focuses on how international geopolitical competitions refract into domestic politics of smaller states.

I asked on twitter for recommendations of novels on the broad theme of “the Cold War in Asia” and got a bunch of recommendations directly (see the thread here) and then via email and DM. They ended up ranging pretty broadly, including before and after and maybe not totally all that much about the Cold War, which is a lot of the fun.

Here are some of them:

  • Jhumpa Lahiri, The Lowland
  • Graham Greene, The Quiet American
  • Tan Twang Eng, The Garden of Evening Mists
  • Viet Thanh Nguyen, The Sympathizer
  • Andre Malraux, Man’s Fate
  • Christopher Koch. The Year of Living Dangerously
  • John Le Carre, The Honourable Schoolboy
  • Duong Thu Huong, The Zenith
  • Duong Thu Huong, Novel Without a Name
  • Duong Thu Huong, Paradise of the Blind
  • Bao Ninh, The Sorrow of War
  • Eugenia Kim, Kinship of Secrets
  • Ha Jin, War Trash
  • Denis Johnson, Tree of Smoke
  • Mohammed Hanif, A Case of Exploding Mangoes
  • Paul Yoon, Run Me to Earth
  • McCarry, the Tears of Autumn
  • Neamat Imam, The Black Coat
  • Min Jin Lee, Pachinko
  • Tahmina Anam, A Golden Age
  • Intizar Hussain, Basti
  • Jing Jing Li, How We Disappeared

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