The Incarnations: Susan Barker

★★★★

This is a slightly retrospective post, as I read The Incarnations shortly before I went to China in September. I’d never heard of the book before, but I spotted it one day in the library and was intrigued by its elaborate cover. While I’m not usually all that keen on the ‘past lives’ school of historical fiction, this tale of reincarnation and rivalry echoing down the centuries proved to be very engaging. Unfolding among the grey blocks and smoggy air of 21st-century Beijing, it also offers a fictional primer to the last two thousand years of Chinese history, as one very ordinary man finds himself dogged by an insistent – and intrusive – ghost from his own past.

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