Chinese Whiskers

A Novel

Pallavi Aiyar

St. Martin's Press

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Chinese Whiskers by Pallavi Aiyar is a charming fable set against the landscape of contemporary Beijing, seen through the eyes of two cats.
 
Soyabean is a middle class cat looked after by a grandmother who embodies traditional Chinese morality. Tofu is born to a stray cat mother in a backyard dustbin. They are brought together when they are adopted by foreigners, who live in a traditional style courtyard house in Beijing’s traditional hutong neighborhoods. Then Soyabean is offered a job as a model for a new brand of cat food while at the same time a mysterious virus is sickening people across the city. Cats are blamed for it and are being rounded up, and Soyabean and Tofu's idyllic lives as pampered pets come to an abrupt end. 

Interweaving real episodes in recent Chinese history such as the Olympic Games, the SARS virus, and tainted pet-food scandals with a richly imagined world, this heartwarming story of cats and humans does what W. Bruce Cameron's A Dog's Purpose did for canines.  It will make you laugh and tear up, while showing the battles fought between the corruption of modern living and the ideals of traditional life.

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Reviews

Praise for Chinese Whiskers

"An enchanting and profoundly moving novel about our relationships with animals told from a unique and refreshing perspective."--Neil Abramson, author of Unsaid

"Engaging, exotic, and beautifully written, Aiyar's cat's-eye view of China during the tainted pet-food scare will capture the hearts of animal lovers everywhere."--Gwen Cooper, author of Homer’s Odyssey

"A gentle happiness abounds in this simple tale, set against the backdrop of a rapidly changing China...[a] small charmer." -- Kirkus Reviews

"Major events in recent Chinese history are experienced first paw, as it were, by two precocious kittens who find relative comfort in the home of foreigners living in Beijing on the eve of the 2008 Olympics. In filtering ...international scandals through the eyes of lowly house cats, award-winning journalist-turned-novelist Aiyar cleverly illustrates how global circumstances can impact every strata of society."--Booklist
 
"I gladly give Chinese Whiskers the maximum allocation of five stars, but I'd give it 10 if it were allowed."—About.com

 

 


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About the Author

Pallavi Aiyar

Award winning journalist and author PALLAVI AIYAR spent six years living in a hutong home in the heart of the old imperial city of Beijing. She reported from across China for the Hindu and Indian Express in addition to teaching English at the Beijing Broadcasting Institute. She is the winner of the 2007 Prem Bhatia Memorial Award for excellence in political reporting and analysis for her dispatches from China. Her book Smoke and Mirrors: An Experience of China won the Vodafone-Crossword Popular Book Award for 2008. Her first novel, Chinese Whiskers, has recently been published by Harper Collins India to excellent reviews. She currently lives in Brussels with her husband, son and two Chinese cats, where she writes about Europe for the Business Standard. Pallavi has degrees in Philosophy, History and Media Sociology from St StephensCollege Delhi University, Oxford and the London School of Economics.

Pallavi Aiyar

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Available Formats and Book Details

Chinese Whiskers
A Novel
Pallavi Aiyar

Hardcover

Hardcover
St. Martin's Press
December 2012
Hardcover
ISBN: 9781250014481
ISBN10: 1250014484
5 1/2 x 8 1/4 inches, 240 pages, Includes 10 black-and-white illustrations throughout
$22.99

e-Book Agency

e-Book Agency
St. Martin's Press
December 2012
e-Book Agency
ISBN: 9781250014597
ISBN10: 125001459X
5 1/2 x 8 1/4 inches, 224 pages, includes 10 black and white drawings
$10.99
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