Animator and comics artist Guy Delisle's travelogue Shenzhen
is a fascinating, meandering look at one of China's most storied new cities: Shenzhen, the enormous, lightspeed boom-town factory megalopolis just the other side of Hong Kong. Delisle was stationed there as a supervisor for some animation that had been outsourced to China, and he dwelt there in an introspective solitude, drawing and writing about the city as he inhabited his own mind.
I'm endlessly fascinated by these Chinese new cities (I'm working on a novel that's partly set in them), where buildings can grow by a storey a day, where people flock from the countryside to do information-age labor at pre-industrial wages, where commerce and control wage an endless war for dominance in the most populous nation on Earth.
Shenzhen is a really lovely, idiosyncratic, first hand warts-and-all account of the city as seen through the eyes of foreigner. The good, bad and ugly are here, built around Delisle's running account of the daring food adventures he takes himself on.
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