I just can't figure out why he wrote this book. He says something about how he is pondering moving his young family to China because its such an important place, and he goes to check it out. That makes no sense, especially from someone who wanted only to leave civilization in his previous books. I kept thinking, maybe the government paid him to go write a really unflattering book about how messed up China is. The result of reading this book is that I sure don't want to go to China. He didn't have much good to say. The author is funny and the book is pretty listenable. It just had this overlying aura of implausibility. I highly recommend his 2 earlier books. They seem honest and are hilarious. This one...not so much.
China is one of those places I'd rather not visit, but knowing something about it is another thing. Troost's book educates and entertains at the same time. Sure, it is but one person's account, but Troost is has a keen eye and a clever wit. The book is a delight and the narration is superb.
I was hoping for a interesting account of his travel in China, but what I got was 10 hours of China bashing. Whether it is true or not, 10 hours of constant description of China's problems is just not fun reading as a travelogue.
Yes, because I found it not only informational but quite humorous
I thought he did a great job
Every part that that described the collapse of the positive aspects the culture and the destruction of so many parts of China's historical sites.
I think Mr. Troost is an amazing story teller. When I first started to listen to the book, I thought it was a novel. I found myself laughing out loud at some of his experiences. I was fortunate to have traveled to Beijing and Guangdong in the mid 1980's and my experience there was much different than that of Mr.Troost. At that time in history, there was no smog or pollution. There were very few vehicles or factories. At the time, I found that the govt was very oppressive and felt sorry for the Chinese people. I still feel sorry for them in many ways but not the ways I felt for them in 1985. It was a different kind of Planet China at that time.
I love reading about other countries and their cultures. As I am the proud grandmother of a smart and savy, seven year old Chinese boy, who came to us when he was four, I was hoping to gain some insight re/his heritage. I was disappointed with the author's condescending manner, and his "cutsy" humor. To me, he often came across sounding like the "ugly American." I would be embarrassed to have my Chinese friends read this book.
out standing in his field
I was really looking forward to the profound insights of a seasoned traveler with a sophisticated cultural palate. Halfway through the book, I was still hopeful. All I got was what to hate about China (pretty much everything) and why (it stinks, you can't breathe, Mao is still god, everything is fake, what isn't fake is being either destroyed or copied into obscurity, the people are rude and mean-spirited when they aren't inscrutable, and the culture is inexplicable - but the food is great if you like eating poisonous invertebrates, western pets, genital organs, and raw meat).
And some of the insights _not_ offered up were amazing. How could you wander innocently into a gay bar and order a drink without recognizing the place for what it was (whimsically punching in the only floor number that was unlabelled in the elevator might at least have been a reason to be wary)? Or worse, what American male, having just checked into a seedy motel in the middle of the night, could honestly say that he doesn't know what the girl on the other end of the line is offering when she says, "Ma'sah'gee"? And what about the young man who assaulted him by the ATM, screaming at him and repeatedly slapping the back of his head - why tell me about the incident without offering any sort of interpretation, however naive or biased?
A co-worker was born in China, and while she admits she would not want to raise her children there, she did appreciate the view from Tai Shan (Mr. Troost claims one cannot see more than 10 feet in any one direction through the smog). Nobody she knows thinks highly of Mao and his likeness is not everywhere.
I give it one star for the deliciously sarcastic wit, which carried me through the first couple chapters before it got old, and after that it was
Audible, can I get a credit refunded? I will happily delete the files and forget I ever heard of the book.