As Troost relates his gonzo adventure - dodging deadly drivers in Shanghai, eating yak in Tibet, deciphering restaurant menus (offering local favorites such as cattle penis with garlic), and visiting with Chairman Mao (still dead) - he reveals a vast, complex country on the brink of transformation that will soon shape the way we all work, live, and think.
This insightful, hilarious narrative brings China to life as you've never seen it before.
©2008 J. Maarten Troost; (P)2008 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
The authors point of view is very funny.
Hotel at the top of the world. Similar humor.
He's performance was incredible. I will look for him w hen making future purchases.
Talking to the lamps.
This is a great look at China.
Bloke who took to audiobooks in order to beguile long hours on the road travelling to photography gigs across his home state. Now addicted!
China is another country - they do things differently there.
I suspect strongly that Simon Vance's narration is all that saves this book from utter unbearability - his soothing, very British intonations smoothing-over and camouflaging a tale that should, in justice, probably be delivered in a nasal, wheedling, north-American whine.
The Chinese, you see, in Troost's eyes, simply cannot do anything right.
His account is in the gonzo comic style, and might almost be compared to Bill Bryson, except that Troost has little interest in the locals' opinions. After all, he has so many of his own to give us.
Make no mistake - this is an entertaining account, and doubtlessly, of course, much of his criticism is justified, particularly of the regime. But it's striking how his cynicism - and, I'll add, his skepticism - switches off the moment he crosses the 'border' into Tibet.
Probably one to digest before traveling there yourself for the first time, on a forewarned is forearmed basis; hell, after all, it's unlikely your own experience would be worse!
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.
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