Sight and blindness, both literal and metaphorical, are key themes in my novel, Between Darkness and Light. In this passage, for example, we see what Wang Weijun now experiences, having lost one eye in a childish game of William Tell:
On Wednesday 13th May at 3pm, I’ll be at Merstham Library (virtually of course) to answer questions about my novel, Between Darkness and Light, and to read an extract from the book. I’ll send out further details closer to the date and hope you can join me there!
Why? To find out more have a look at my novel, Between Darkness and Light.
On Wednesday 1st April, I shall be giving a talk at Redhill Library, Surrey, about my novel, Between Darkness and Light, and the amazing story of the Chinese Labour Corps in World War I that appears in its pages. The coffee morning lasts from 10.30 – noon and I would be delighted if you wereContinue reading “An Invitation”
Would you like a free copy of my novel? Between Darkness and Light will be available as a free Kindle download from 8am on Friday 14th February for a couple of days. If you want information about the book (or a print copy), have a look here. I’d be delighted to know what you thinkContinue reading “Free book”
Jérôme Ferrari’s novel, which won the prestigious Prix Goncourt in 2012, opens with a quotation from one of St. Augustine’s sermons: “Are you surprised that the end of the world is upon us? You might rather be surprised that the world has grown so old.” In a novel about a village bar, this opening is,Continue reading “Jérôme Ferrari’s ‘The Sermon on the Fall of Rome’”
While studying in the School of Oriental and African Studies library a few years ago, I stumbled across Xu Guoqi’s China and the Great War and was taken aback by the book’s title.
History is never as straightforward as we might like it to be. Take something as straightforward as the dates of the First World War: 1914-1918. We all know that. Except that the peace treaties that officially ended the war were signed in 1919. And labourers continued to die while doing battlefield clearance until 1920.
160 of the 168 headstones at the St Etienne-au-Mont mark the graves of members of the Chinese Labour Corps. So what about the other eight?
On just about the only dreary day we had last summer, I visited a small war cemetery in the village of St Etienne-au-Mont, just outside Boulogne-sur-Mer. Of the 168 graves there, 160 mark the last resting places of members of the Chinese Labour Corps.
Researching the Chinese Labour Corps during World War I is bound to force you outside narrow national boundaries.
Why did so many of the Chinese Labourers buried at Noyelles die after November 11th 1918? One simple reason was that many of them were given the job of battleground clearance. Such an innocuous sounding task: such a deadly reality.
The gravestones in my previous post can all found at the remarkable Chinese cemetery at Noyelles-sur-Mer at the mouth of the River Somme. Why here? Because Noyelles was the base of the Chinese Labour Corps during World War I. Here are some more photos of the cemetery and its fine Chinese arch.
Spare a thought for this member of the Chinese Labour Corps who died on Armistice Day, November 11th 2018. How unlucky can you get?