Tag: Lynn Pan

  • Emily Hahn

    Emily Hahn is what you might call an adventuress. She liked to be called Mickey. She had a deep-seated desire for opium and a pet gibbon named Mr. Mills. Hahn held a degree in mining engineering and a lot of street smarts. Her first book was a satirical look at the way men court women,…

  • Shanghai Mind

    To shanghai is to Force (someone) to join a ship lacking a full crew by drugging them or using other underhand means. The word dates back to late 19th century Shanghai and, indeed, all the tropes are there. The drugs, the crime, the indentured service. When we think of the residents of Shanghai, we see…

  • Fujianhua

    When I dream about Shanghai, I see the Bund, the Pudong skyline, the plane trees of the old French Concession. People from every nation once strolled under those trees. Japanese, Brits, Russians, Americans, Portuguese, German, French and more. In my dreams, I hear their strange speech. I can taste their odd foodstuffs: pretzels from Germany,…

  • Qipao

    When I was writing The Dancing Girl and the Turtle, I thought I knew the difference between a qipao and a cheongsam. Both, to be sure, were dresses for women. But in my mind, the former was figure-hugging while the latter was loose. I wanted to use that distinction to show how my main character…

  • Old House

    My father called it the Old House. Every week he would go there to visit his grandparents. My father described the Old House as a mixed-up design. It had a courtyard and a main hall like a proper Chinese house, but also two stories. The first time I visited Shanghai in 1984, Grandaunt Ta-An was still…

  • A Reading List

    My novel The Dancing Girl and the Turtle is set in Shanghai 1937. Does any story set in the past qualify as historical fiction? Hilary Mantel says historical fiction must do far more than dredge up the past: A relation of past events bring[s] you up against events and mentalities that, should you choose to describe…