Ms. Ming's Guide to Civilization (Paperback)
Ming, born in a bleak outpost of Sichuan province, finds an unexpected glimpse of the world beyond when she meets a talking monkey with golden eyes and supernatural abilities—the immortal Monkey King, with whom Ming’s destiny is inextricably intertwined. Determined to become a writer, Ming finds her way to New York, but to make ends meet she goes to work for a crime ring and returns to China on the lam. Hope arrives in the form of her American friend Zoe. Together, they travel to the village of Ming’s birth, where the clouds writhe like phantoms and the rain never stops, where Ming and Zoe join forces with a certain down-and-out immortal who has an ambitious plan to save the world from capitalism run amok. When a nation of tycoons and financiers suddenly and inexplicably decide that the key to happiness lies in sharing one’s wealth and pursuing a contemplative life, nobody suspects the newly formed tech company run by Ming, Zoe, and William Sun. Hyper-capitalist China rapidly becomes a paradise for artists, thinkers, and lovers—a rollicking playground where the air is clean and the strangest words you can hear are, “I can’t afford it!” But it’s a short-lived Xanadu once human nature begins to intervene. In Ms. Ming’s Guide to Civilization, as in life and politics, every action provokes an equal and opposite reaction.
About the Author
Jan Alexander is the author of the novel Getting to Lamma and co-author of the nonfiction book Bad Girls of the Silver Screen. Her short fiction has appeared in 34th Parallel, Everyday Fiction, Neworld Review, and Silver Birch Press. She has written about business and travel for many publications and taught Chinese history at Brooklyn College. She lives in New York.
“Ming and Zoe and the whole cast of secondary characters jump off the page a vibrant engagement in their world.” —Beth Neff, author of Getting Somewhere and founder of Sparklit Media
"Ms. Ming’s Guide to Civilization is as much a searing indictment of top-down, socially engineered living as it is of bottom-up, laissez-faire living, with a healthy dose of human realism. It challenges our notions of linear time, monogamy, and balance. But throughout, even to the twisting end, our heroine holds out hope. Hope that there is a path to a better life, for herself, for her friends and family, and for the broader society--a dream she can never abandon." —Andrew Singer, Book Reviewer