A Comrade Lost and Found

Who’s Afraid of Jan Wong?

by Parul Sehgal — Publishers Weekly, 12/22/2008

A lunch invitation from Jan Wong was not one you wanted to get when the Toronto Globe and Mail‘s highest-paid and most notorious columnist was writing her eponymous “Lunch with Jan Wong.” The column ran from 1996 to 2002, with a stated aim to “Ask tough questions, check résumés, scrutinize every boob job, tuck and lift.” It garnered her two lawsuits and the moniker “the Hannibal Lecter of the lunch set.”

But her memoirs—Red China Blues (Doubleday, 1997), Jan Wong’s China (Doubleday, 1999) and her latest, A Comrade Lost and Found (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2009)—are as serious as her celebrity portraits are scurrilous, detailing what Wong, a third-generation Canadian and “Montreal Maoist,” witnessed as a foreign exchange student at the height of the Cultural Revolution.

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