Frontiers of Heaven: A Journey to the End of China by Stanley Stewart, Paperback | Barnes & Noble
Frontiers of Heaven: A Journey to the End of China

Frontiers of Heaven: A Journey to the End of China

by Stanley Stewart
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

Winner of the Thomas Cook Travel Book AwardFor the Chinese, the Great Wall of China has defined much more than a physical barrier. Over the centuries it has represented a psychological frontier - within it lies the Celestial Kingdom, the compass of all civilization. Beyond lies a barbaric world of chaos and exile.In Frontiers of Heaven, author Stanley Stewart

Overview

Winner of the Thomas Cook Travel Book AwardFor the Chinese, the Great Wall of China has defined much more than a physical barrier. Over the centuries it has represented a psychological frontier - within it lies the Celestial Kingdom, the compass of all civilization. Beyond lies a barbaric world of chaos and exile.In Frontiers of Heaven, author Stanley Stewart recounts his wanderings halfway across Asia. The journey takes him from Shanghai to the banks of the Indus, and along the way he encounters the modern Chinese for whom these regions beyond the Wall still hold the same morbid fascination. Today, the great western province of Xinjiang is still a land of exile, the destination of soldiers, reluctant settlers, political prisoners, and disgraced officials.Whether describing the lost cities of Central Asia, a Buddhist monastery in the shadow of Tibet, or a love affair in Xi'an, Stewart tells his story with charm and affection.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Stewart is a master at weaving history and geography into cleverly reconstructed observations and encounters that range from the merely curious to the heartily bizarre. Juxtaposed against all is his unabashed fascination with unfamiliar surrounding and the isolation that comes with being alone."—Booklist

"A Stanley Stewart travel story about a walk to the nearest corner would be a page-turner. And that is because, unlike too many other travel writers, he takes his reader on the most important trip of all: the journey of a good sentence."—The Washington Post

"Self-deprecating and wry, Stewart is a gifted amateur in the classic tradition of Patrick Leigh Fermor; indeed, he seems to have no particular objective other than to observe and enjoy. This is not travel with a purpose; it is pure gratification, a fine addition to what is sometimes called 'loiterature.' "—New York Times Book Review

". . . The book is full of the kind of lively encounters most people find only in literature . . . Stewart's narrative brings the Great Wall that much closer."—USA Today

"Stewart writes of his experiences with compassion and great charm."—Chicago Tribune

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781592287918
Publisher:
Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
Publication date:
02/01/2006
Pages:
232
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.60(h) x 0.70(d)

Read an Excerpt

Excerpt from pgs. 72-73:

I was eventuall led to the pagoda by a High Court judge. He was a cheerful fellow with his shirt knotted above his bare tummy and his trousers rolled up to his knees. He was on this way to try a difficult case which he described in English as "very grave, very murderous." Strapped to the back of his bicycle was the head of a freshly butchered cow. As he led me through the maze of alleys it left a trail of blood in our wake which I later used to find my way back to the main street. Its tongue lolled hideously between wet lips. The eyes followed me like the eyes of a portrait.
"You are from England?" the judge asked.
"Yes," I said, dropping slightly astern in the hope of shaking off the sorry gaze of the cow.
"The Old Boiling," the judge said. "Very famous. Number One court. Tell me. Do the judges in the Old Boiling Number One court still wear the women's hair?"
"Wigs. Yes, I am afraid so," I said.
The judge roared with laughter. "And women's dresses?"
"Absolutely. The judges are very fond of women's clothing."
He could hardly contain himself. In his hilarity he slapped the cow's forehead and the stiffening jaws closed slowly on the tongue.
The judge grew suddenly serious. "What about execution? Do you execute?" He made a chopping motion with his hand. It was, given the cow, a tasteless gesture.
"No," I said. "We gave it up. It didn't work."
"Didn't work?" he snorted. "What could be simpler? What method are you using? Shooting, hanging, electric, gas ovens?"
"No. I mean it doesn't stop crime."
"In China it is one hundred percent effective," he declared merrily. "The executed never commit another crime."

Meet the Author

Stanley Stewart is the author of In the Empire of Genghis Khan, and Old Serpent Nile, an account of his journey to the source of the river.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >