Chinese Whiskers: A Novel

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St. Martin's Press, Dec 11, 2012 - Fiction - 240 pages
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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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Chinese Whiskers

User Review  - Pamela O'Sullivan - Book Verdict

Two Chinese cats—one born on the streets, the other to an orderly middle-class life—find their lives intertwined when they are adopted by the same couple. Told from the felines' point of view, the ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - librarianlk - LibraryThing

Two cats in China pair up to foil human plot to poison felines. Read full review


Stalking Dragonflies
The Dustbin 3 Soyabean Egg Yolk andChicken Liver 4 Tofu The Warning
Chinese Food for Chinese
HotAirinthe Mouth 7 Soyabean Protein 8 TofuBlack Cat White Cat 9 Soyabean No Wave Without Wind 10 Tofu Dustbin

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About the author (2012)

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.

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