Linda Jaivin is a writer of some discipline but minimal bondage. In other words, she wants it both ways - serious and funny. And who could blame her? She can do it both ways. — Canberra Times

from The Monkey and the Dragon


‘On 18 June 1983, two weeks after Hou’s defection, a headline in the Taiwan press read: ‘Where has Hou Dejian gone? A dense fog hides what goes on behind the Iron Curtain – wide concern for how this special case will be handled.’ In their coverage of the defection, the Taiwan media was cheerfully undeterred by lack of reliable sources or facts. Depending on which article you read, Hou Dejian had gone to the mainland to escape gambling debts, had been kidnapped by the Communists or, my favourite, thought he was going somewhere else, took a wrong turn, and ended up in enemy territory. Some reports named a mysterious foreign woman, known only as Linda, as the suspected mastermind behind the defection. She was Hou’s secret lover, or a Communist agent, or both, but it was widely known that his wife had long suspected there was something not right in their relationship.