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A book review by Nicholas Newman

417FL-2B66wLBrushstrokes in time‘, provides a fascinating read about modern China!

For those looking for a deeper insight into the recent modern history of China – this book “Brushstrokes in time” by Sylvia Vetta, celebrated Oxford author and journalist, ticks all the boxes.

The author, Sylvia Vetta, uses the literary device of a fictional character Xia – odong to be our guide in some of the most important turning points in Chinese culture.  This book “Brushstrokes in time” guides us through the establishment of the Stars Art Movement and its vital role played in this short-lived episode by China’s cultural elite, in the exercising of freedom of thought and speech.

In addition, Sylvia Vetta provides insight into the byzantine world of China’s artistic political establishment, which makes the Machiavellian double dealing of Washington as portrayed in “House of Cards”, TV series, look very amateur, indeed. As for the narrative, it is very compelling, well researched and yet an entertaining book. Whilst providing useful insight for anyone interested in Modern China and contemporary art at a global scale.

Brushstrokes in time” by Sylvia Vetta is well worth reading and I can’t wait to hear it serialised on BBC Radio 4.

Paperback: 204 pages Publisher: Claret Press (6 Jan. 2016) Language: English ISBN-10: 1910461091 ISBN-13: 978-1910461099 Product Dimensions: 14.8 x 1.2 x 21 cm
About the Author Freelance writer, journalist and speaker Sylvia Vetta worked in antiques for many years before taking up freelance writing and broadcasting on art and antiques in 1998, when she began writing features for the award-winning magazine of The Oxford Times, ‘Oxfordshire Limited Edition’. She created Oxford Castaways sending over 100 inspirational people to the mythical island of Oxtopia. As a result she has interviewed among others, Sharmi Chakrabarti, Sir Roger and Lady Moyra Bannister, Lord Patten of Barnes the last governor of Hong Kong, prolific writer Brian Aldiss, folk legend Peggy Seeger, Nobel Peace Prize winner (with MAG) the sculptor John Buckley, Sister Frances Domenica, the founder of the world’s first children’s hospice, physicist Christopher Watson, who helped dismantle 220 rotting Soviet nuclear submarines, Lady Carnarvon, the mistress of the real Downton Abbey. Reviewing Everyone’s Life is an Epic , the first one man show by a living Chinese artist to be held at the Ashmolean , she learned first -hand from one of the founding Stars the story of their courage and their dreams. That encounter with Qu Leilei and the epic story he told, inspired her to write this novel. She lives near Oxford with her husband.

About the author: admin


Oxford based journalist and consultant, who writes about business, especially the global energy business including exploration. Also editor Oxfordprospect.co.uk. Writes about a variety of topics including production, power generation including renewables, innovation, investment, markets, technology, regulation, leadership, policy making and management.


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