Synopses & Reviews
A Chinese Life
is an astonishing graphic novel set against the backdrop of the creation of the People’s Republic of China in 1949. This distinctively drawn work chronicles the rise and reign of Chairman Mao Zedong, and his sweeping, often cataclysmic vision for the most populated country on the planet.
Though the storyline is epic, the storytelling is intimate, reflecting the real life of the book’s artist. Li Kunwu spent more than 30 years as a state artist for the Communist Party. He saw firsthand what was happening to his family, his neighbors, and his homeland during this extraordinary time. Working with Philippe Ôtié, the artist has created a memoir of self and state, a rich, very human account of a major historical moment with contemporary consequences. Mao said, “The masses are the real heroes,” but A Chinese Life shows those masses as real people.
Praise for A Chinese Life:
“This is an absorbing book—all 700 pages of it—reminiscent at times of Zhang Yimou’s epic Chinese history film To Live, and reminiscent at others of George Orwell’s 1984, recast as non-fiction.” —The Onion’s A.V. Club
andldquo;Were I in the front row of the White House press briefing room, I would ask spokesman Jay Carney one question above all others: andlsquo;Have you read Weapons of Mass Diplomacy, and if not, why not?andrsquo;andnbsp;Itandrsquo;s that goodandmdash;insightful, like a tall mirror reflecting truth, hung in the halls of power.andrdquo;
andldquo;The machinations at the ministry gave him the material for andlsquo;Quai dandrsquo;Orsay,andrsquo; a bande dessinandeacute;e that he wrote under the pen name Abel Lanzac, with illustrations by Christophe Blain. . . . The book was recently brought out in English by the British publisher SelfMadeHero under the title andlsquo;Weapons of Mass Diplomacy.andrsquo;andrdquo;
Following 9/11, President Bushand#8217;s and#147;War on Terrorand#8221; with plans to invade Iraq erupted into a cultural clash between French reluctance and American assurance over the case for and#147;Weapons of Mass Destruction.and#8221; In Weapons of Mass Diplomacy, diplomat Abel Lanzac reveals the tension and politics through a French insiderand#8217;s point of view, with satirical humor that softens the controversial subject matter. Readers follow Lanzacand#8217;s fictionalized self, Arthur Vlaminck, a speechwriter for the French Foreign Minister. As part of a team of flamboyant ministerial advisors, he has been tasked with drafting Franceand#8217;s response to the growing international crisis in the Middle East, which is then delivered before the United Nations Security Council. A graphic milestone of diplomacy, Weapons of Mass Diplomacyand#151;a bestseller in Europeand#151;proand#173;vides a revelatory account of a period that saw French fries become and#147;freedom friesand#8221; and an alternative perspective on the decisions leading up to the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.
About the Author
Abel Lanzac, a pseudonym for Antonin Baudry, is a diplomat and former advisor to French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin. Christophe Blain is an award-winning artist and writer. In 2002, he won the Best Graphic Novel award at Angouland#234;me for Isaac the Pirate.