Zimbabwe’s politics satirised: Glory, by NoViolet Bulawayo, reviewed

NoViolet Bulawayo’s first novel We Need New Names, shortlisted for the Booker in 2013, was a charming, tender gem, suffused with the guileless hilarity of children and the shock of tragedy in Zimbabwe, the author’s birthplace. Her follow-up, Glory, features animals as characters. I was initially mystified. Who would try to match Orwell’s allegorical masterpiece Animal Farm? Art Spiegelman succeeded in Maus, his graphic novel about the Holocaust, but each species represented one race, so the symbolism packed a punch – German cats hunting Jewish mice. Here the species are often random, apart from the savage dog police. But the use of animals at least lends humour to a heavy

When democracy worked in China

Spectator contributors were asked: Which moment from history seems most significant or interesting? Here is Jung Chang’s answer: My highlight of history would be the first 16 years of the Chinese Republic — 1912 to 1928 — when China was a vibrant democracy. This fact is generally unknown to the world, and I came to appreciate it fully only while researching my last two books, one on Empress Dowager Cixi, and the other on the three Soong sisters from Shanghai.  The democratisation process began with Cixi in the first decade of the 20th century, when she resolved to turn China into a constitutional monarchy. After her death, the Republic that came into