China High My Fast Times in the 010, a Beijing Memoir (Paperback)
From the Publisher:
ZZ is the perfect guide to the new Beijing: he’s got insider cred but an outsider’s eye for the uniquely bizarre aspects of Chinese life. ZZ’s parents got him out of Red China, but with an American education under his belt, Beijing is now his capitalist playground. ZZ starts his own company by day and by night lives large in Sanlitun’s clubs, bars and dim sum emporia. He has a gift for using guan xi (a network of favors) to carve out a coveted spot in the nighttime world of clubs and cafes frequented by the new young professional class. But in this freshly morphing world, it’s not clear who can be trusted no matter how much guan xi you spread around—and ZZ’s glam urban life comes to a crashing halt when he’s picked up by the police for his 007-worthy “Zigarette.” Suddenly there’s an entirely new and gritty pecking order—and ZZ better find a way—FAST—out of a Chinese prison!
A swaggering true tale of a young man rediscovering himself in today’s China, ZZ’s voice is hip and fresh, and the on-the-ground looks he gives into the world’s next superpower is more than just a rice cake of sex, drugs and Rock ‘n Roll.
Born in Shanghai, but brought to America at the age of 13, ZZ earned his law degree in the States but sought his fortune in Beijing. He soon abandons his legal career and launches a lucrative business delivering food for local restaurants, at which time he learns about "guan xi," which is the network of favors and bribes which must be traversed in order to get business done within the inherent bureaucracy of Beijing. This also gives him more time to pursue his true passion, and the real subject of his memoir, which is the dynamic night life of the Chinese capital. ZZ enjoys a blissful stint awash in alluring ladies, loads of alcohol, and a litany of other mind-altering substances. Alas, ZZ's enchanted nocturnal existence is shattered when he is busted for smoking an opium-laced joint and promptly deposited into a jail cell which is (predictably) overpopulated. The intricate system of favors that ZZ felt he had mastered proves useless, and he is left to stew in his cell and contemplate the moral tone of his future memoir.