Syd Goldsmith


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Wednesday, September 27, 2006
 

 

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Student Post yǥͶl

 
   
 
Former U.S. envoy pens prize-winning novel about Taiwan

 

 
"Jade Phoenix," an award-winning novel about Taiwan by former U.S. diplomat and longtime Taipei resident Syd Goldsmith, has just been published by Bookman, a major Taipei publisher.

Goldsmith said that he wrote the book "in a search for deeper understanding of the soul of Taiwan during the turbulent decade of the 1970s, when everything changed."

In the novel, a U.S. journalist and a Taiwanese businessman overcome huge cultural differences and become the closest of friends, only to discover that they both love the same woman. First published in the U.S., the book was reviewed there as "a marvelous collage of history, politics, mystery and romance," where betrayal and trust forge uncontrollable urges, fierce loyalties, and love that extends beyond life itself.

Goldsmith said that after experiencing life in Taiwan on many different levels, "I finally wrote about this country I call home and hope that 'Jade Phoenix' will give readers an understanding of Taiwan in much the same way as 'The Kite Runner' illuminated Afghan culture."

Goldsmith was director of the American Institute in Taiwan's Kaohsiung branch office, the unofficial equivalent of a consulate general, from 1985 until 1989, when he settled in Taipei. Now in his mid-60s, he first came to Taiwan in 1968 and was a political officer at the American embassy in Taipei from 1970 to 1974. Fluent in Mandarin, Taiwanese, and Cantonese, as well as several other languages, Goldsmith grew up in New Jersey and attended Columbia University. He lives in Taipei with his Taiwanese wife and their two children.

A reviewer in Taiwan noted on his blog that "the great strength of Goldsmith's story lies in its rich depiction of the realities [since] Goldsmith knows many of the historical persons who appear as characters in the book, both real and fictionalized, [and he] is able to leverage his vast knowledge of the island to produce a book that is not only historically informed but also culturally accurate."

In addition, a reviewer on Amazon.com called the book a riveting read, writing, "This is one of those novels that you had better not pick up unless the kids are fed and you don't mind staying up all night."

Goldsmith said that "Jade Phoenix" is now available in bookstores islandwide or directly from the publisher's Web site.

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