From the Publisher
"The much-acclaimed adventures of a young master in China take the form of a series of lightly sketched-in episodes; almost without exception, they produce the gulp of feeling you might get from an unusually fine short story, and they reverberate long after you have put them down."
—The New York Times
This is a book full of China, full of wonder. Salzman taught English in Changsha, Hunan, for two years, studied Chinese boxing with a master, helped his Chinese friends, and perceived Chinese life with the writerly eye of a young Hemingway. Although, or because, he flies no political banner and takes no ideological stance, he gives us a bouquet of sketches which distill a range of Chinese people into essences and scenes we immediately understand and feel. Some scenes are sharply, unpretentiously funny; others start the tears to which China reduces (elevates?) her friends. For those who see ``China'' as an abstraction, whether as enemy, hope of the future, or market, this book is the cure. Read it and get your friends and patrons to read it too. A quiet classic, not to be pigeonholed as a China book. Charles W. Hayford, Ctr. for Far Eastern Studies, Univ. of Chicago
School Library Journal
YA This anecdotal record of a young man's encounter with the Chinese and their way of life offers unique insights to readers. Salzman had majored in Chinese literature at Yale, and his first job after graduation in 1982 was teaching English to students and teachers at Hunan Medical College in Changsha. He met this considerable challenge with sensitivity, humor, and imagination, and was quickly regarded with respect and affection. Salzman had studied martial arts since he was 13, and he continued his practice in Changsha, where one of China's foremost experts, Pan Qingfu, accepted him as a pupil. Readers will become aware of the many styles of the sport, and, incidentally, the real meaning of ``kung fu.'' The personalities encountered range from Salzman's students and teachers to calligraphers, peasants, fishermen, and bureaucrats. Each fascinating episode illuminates the way to a deeper understanding of Chinese culture and character. This book is also notable for its unusually attractive design: the handsome calligraphy on the binding and chapter headings was done by the author. Rita G. Keeler, St. John's School, Houston