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Picturing a World

Two Tribes

A review in the Guardian led me to buy a hardcover copy of The Two Tribes by Arthur C. Clarke Award-winner Chris Beckett. I'm glad I did! It is timely, thought-provoking, entertaining, and a model for anyone interested in how structural mirroring can work in fiction. Frame and main action, an architect and a hairdresser, comically uncomfortable dinner parties at either end of the social, scary extremists—tit-for-tat is there, but the book reads like a naturalistic story. On the one hand, it's a romance across class and political lines. On the other, it imagines the 21stC from the perspective of those who live in the future we are in the process of making. Bonus: from the perspective of an old editor of East Asian studies, it's a very witty marriage of Chinese history and prognostication! Recommended. For another review, click here.

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