The Hall of Uselessness: Collected Essays

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Simon Leys' cultural and political commentary has long been legendary for its profundity and acerbic wit. In The Hall of Uselessness his most significant essays are finally gathered together, on subjects ranging from China to Orwell, from Quixotism to the sea.

Leys feuds with Christopher Hitchens, ponders the popularity of Victor Hugo and analyses whether Nabokov's unfinished novel should ever have been published. He dissects Mao's Cultural Revolution and the Khmer Rouge, and discusses Waugh, Simenon and Confucius. He considers Chinese art, culture and politics, the joys and difficulties of literary translation and the fate of the university.

The Hall of Uselessness is an illuminating compendium from a brilliant and highly acclaimed writer – a long-time resident of Australia who is truly a global citizen.

'Everyone knows the usefulness of what is useful, but few know the usefulness of what is useless.' Zhuang Zi