RAS Book Club

RAS Library

Lotus by Lijia Zhang

Discussion Leader: John van Fleet
Reserved, at times defiant, Lotus is different from the other streetwalkers. Her striking eyes glow under Shenzhen’s neon lights, capturing the attention of Funny Eye, Family Treasure, and a slew of other demanding clients determined to make Lotus their property. Choosing between wealthy, powerful, and dangerous men is no easy feat, but it is a surprising offer from Binbing, a soft-spoken and humble photojournalist, that presents the biggest challenge. Is Lotus willing to fall in love? Is she capable of it?
Inspired by the deathbed revelation that the author’s grandmother had been sold to a brothel in her youth,Lotus offers compelling insight into China’s bustling underground world. Written with compassion and vivid prose, and packed with characters you won’t soon forget, Lijia Zhang’s Lotus examines what it means to be an individual in a society that praises restraint in and obedience from its women.
Lijia Zhang is a rocket-factory-worker-turned writer and social commentator. At 16, she was put to work in Nanjing where she taught herself English. Now she is one of the few Chinese who write regularly in English for international publications, such as The New York Times. She is the author of the critically acclaimed memoir “Socialism Is Great!” and her debut novel Lotus, on prostitution in China, came out in 2017. She is a recipient of the fellowship for writers at the University of Iowa. She is a regular speaker on the BBC, Channel 4, CNN and NPR.

Discussion leader: John van Fleet

John van Fleet is resident in East Asia since 1991, in (greater) China since 2000 and member of RAS. He has known the author for a dozen years and reviewed her first book and Lotus as well for Asian Review of Books.

Please note that this is a book discussion; the author will not be present

RSVP: bookevents@royalasiaticsociety.org.cn