"Jade Phoenix," an award-winning novel about Taiwan by former U.S.
diplomat and longtime Taipei resident Syd Goldsmith, has just been
published by Bookman, a major Taipei publisher.
Goldsmith said that he wrote the book "in a search for deeper
understanding of the soul of Taiwan during the turbulent decade of
the 1970s, when everything changed."
In the novel, a U.S. journalist and a Taiwanese businessman
overcome huge cultural differences and become the closest of
friends, only to discover that they both love the same woman. First
published in the U.S., the book was reviewed there as "a marvelous
collage of history, politics, mystery and romance," where betrayal
and trust forge uncontrollable urges, fierce loyalties, and love
that extends beyond life itself.
Goldsmith said that after experiencing life in Taiwan on many
different levels, "I finally wrote about this country I call home
and hope that 'Jade Phoenix' will give readers an understanding of
Taiwan in much the same way as 'The Kite Runner' illuminated Afghan
Goldsmith was director of the American Institute in Taiwan's
Kaohsiung branch office, the unofficial equivalent of a consulate
general, from 1985 until 1989, when he settled in Taipei. Now in his
mid-60s, he first came to Taiwan in 1968 and was a political officer
at the American embassy in Taipei from 1970 to 1974. Fluent in
Mandarin, Taiwanese, and Cantonese, as well as several other
languages, Goldsmith grew up in New Jersey and attended Columbia
University. He lives in Taipei with his Taiwanese wife and their two
A reviewer in Taiwan noted on his blog that "the great strength
of Goldsmith's story lies in its rich depiction of the realities
[since] Goldsmith knows many of the historical persons who appear as
characters in the book, both real and fictionalized, [and he] is
able to leverage his vast knowledge of the island to produce a book
that is not only historically informed but also culturally
In addition, a reviewer on Amazon.com called the book a riveting
read, writing, "This is one of those novels that you had better not
pick up unless the kids are fed and you don't mind staying up all
Goldsmith said that "Jade Phoenix" is now available in bookstores
islandwide or directly from the publisher's Web site.