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The Lens of Desire, a new novel.

During the Cultural Revolution in Shanghai, a time of great turmoil and social dissolution, the story begins with a young Red Guard, Li Kong, who finds a set of dairies which will transform his life.

Mesmerized by the drawings and photographs of the lovely woman within, he becomes obsessed with deciphering the foreign script. At great peril to himself, he shares his secret with a once famous film director who has been purged and demoted to the position of a cleaner. Unknown to Li Kong, the Director is intimately familiar the author of the diaries, a fact which he keeps to himself. As the two men meet in secret, creating a refuge from the madness spiraling around them, the world of the diaries open up to another reality-that of the glamorous yet perilous Shanghai of the 1930’s.

The entries are written by a young woman named Tanya Zhukova, a White Russian refugee. Alone in the world, she makes her way using her wits and artistic talent. Despite her fey beauty, Tanya is at once irreverent, charming, and very tenacious. Rising from artist’s model to architectural designer, she intimately describes her deeply felt experiences. But everything she has achieved is threatened by her obsessive love for an Englishman, who will neither commit to her nor give her up. Confounded by her own misconceptions, she is devastated by his disappearance during the Japanese invasion of Shanghai in 1937. Tracing his steps, she decides to follow him to Manchuria, a place where all her illusions will be shattered.

When their reading is finishes, the  two men are no closer to finding out what happened to Tanya, and yet, all of their stories are about to unfold.