Memoir, biography and travel book, The Monkey and the Dragon is a story about China like nothing you’ve ever read. This is a book about friendship, music, politics and life on the edge. Linda Jaivin first met Taiwan pop star Hou Dejian in 1981. His song ‘Heirs of the Dragon’ was the unifying anthem of an awakening generation in Taiwan, Hong Kong and on mainland China.
In June 1983 Hou defected to communist China, a stunning and bizarre move which shocked his friends and fans. In 1989 he was one of the last hunger-strikers on Tiananmen Square where he saved the lives of thousands of protestors, and later, with Linda’s help, took refuge in the Australian Embassy in Beijing. After seventy days he returned to the streets but wouldn’t be silenced. In 1990 the authorities abducted him and put him on a fishing boat bound for Taiwan where he became a fengshui master. He still writes the occasional song.
‘For Jaivin, The Monkey and the Dragon can only enhance her reputation as a writer of the salacious and the serious…She writes from the heart but also with the fluency and keen observations of a professional journalist.’
‘It is [Hou’s] finely drawn character that draws the reader and makes a serious entertainment of the history lesson…Jaivin’s writing style is simple and unpretentious. There is a warmth to her writing that is both lively and likeable and one gets the feeling that this is a woman whose haphazard existence, moving in and out of locations, situations and relationships, finds order and sense through the writing itself…a fine piece of reconstructed reportage, in which the author wisely allows the events to speak for themselves…Jaivin’s narrative moves from lighthearted absurdity to movingly rendered tragedy.’
‘Through Hou’s involvement in the Tiananmen protest movement, Jaivin picks carefully through the myths and inaccuracies that still surround the demonstrations and subsequent massacre, never losing her narrative drive…It’s a telling rich with a narrative reporting absent in many other accounts of the event…the combination of Jaivin’s pop status and her passion-infused yet clean prose bringing the personal and political tumult of a China transforming itself to a new audience.’