The Middle Kingdom

The Middle Kingdom

by Andrea Barrett
     
 

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For Grace, the ardent yet puzzled heroine of Andrea Barrett’s third novel, this trip has been planned as a three-week stay: she’s to play dutiful wife to Walter, her prominent scientist husband, at the 1986 Beijing International Conference on the Effects of Acid Rain. Walter is twelve years older than Grace, and as sour as the rain he studies; he and…  See more details below

Overview

For Grace, the ardent yet puzzled heroine of Andrea Barrett’s third novel, this trip has been planned as a three-week stay: she’s to play dutiful wife to Walter, her prominent scientist husband, at the 1986 Beijing International Conference on the Effects of Acid Rain. Walter is twelve years older than Grace, and as sour as the rain he studies; he and Grace are at a particularly troubled point in their marriage. Their tightly circumscribed visit, however, becomes a journey infinitely less tidy and more complex as Grace falls forever out of love with her husband and very much in love with this country and its culture. In the chaos of the Beijing streets and in the home of her new friends Dr. Yu and her son Zaofan, Grace finds the web of life she’s been too lost to perceive. “Time you spend in the past and future is time you spend alone,” Dr. Yu tells her. “But between them there is a middle kingdom, both feet planted here.”

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Editorial Reviews

Amy Tan
“An exhilerating book... wonderful insights.... Ms. Barrett has captured a truly authentic Beijing.”
From the Publisher
“An exhilerating book... wonderful insights.... Ms. Barrett has captured a truly authentic Beijing.”

The Middle Kingdom is engaging. Andrea Barrett writes with felicity, intelligence, and humor.”

“With The Middle Kingdom, Andrea Barrett further consolidates her position as one of our most thoughtful chroniclers of contemporary life.... The Middle Kingdom is another impressive milestone in what promises to be a long and fruitful literary journey by an accomplished American author.”

The MIddle Kingdom proves again that Andrea Barrett is a writer of talent and promise.”

“An affecting novel about an American woman's self-discovery.... Barrett here re-creates not China itself but, more reasonably, her heroine's fascination with it, and she manages to infuse her characters, Grace especially, with a psychic energy and charm.”

Washington Post Book World
The Middle Kingdom is engaging. Andrea Barrett writes with felicity, intelligence, and humor.”
The Plain Dealer (Cleveland)
“With The Middle Kingdom, Andrea Barrett further consolidates her position as one of our most thoughtful chroniclers of contemporary life.... The Middle Kingdom is another impressive milestone in what promises to be a long and fruitful literary journey by an accomplished American author.”
San Francisco Chronicle
The MIddle Kingdom proves again that Andrea Barrett is a writer of talent and promise.”
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
An overweight, complacent American woman on a 1986 visit to Beijing becomes fascinated with China and energetically embraces a new life in this affecting tale. (Mar.)
Cheri Fein
Andrea Barrett's third novel opens with Grace Hoffmeier, an American woman who has been living in Beijing, pedaling furiously through the city streets, her 2-year-old son strapped to her back, as the Tiananmen Square uprising whirls around her....Ms. Barrett is a solid writer, and "The Middle Kingdom" is a thoughtfully plotted book. Yet Grace is a troublesome character....Ms. Barrett never does manage to communicate just what it is about China that attracts her heroine -- or, for that matter, how the experience of living in that country changes her. -- New York Times
Post Bookworld Washington
The Middle Kingdom is engaging. Andrea Barret writes with felicity, intelligence, and humor.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780671729615
Publisher:
Washington Square Press
Publication date:
03/01/1992
Edition description:
Reissue
Pages:
288
Product dimensions:
5.42(w) x 8.34(h) x 0.75(d)

What People are saying about this

Amy Tan
An exhilarating book…wonderful insights….Ms. Barrett has captured a truly authentic Beijing….
Amy Tan
An exhilerating book... wonderful insights.... Ms. Barrett has captured a truly authentic Beijing.”

Meet the Author

Andrea Barrett is the author of Archangel, The Air We Breathe, Servants of the Map (finalist for the Pulitzer Prize), The Voyage of the Narwhal, Ship Fever (winner of the National Book Award), and other books. She teaches at Williams College and lives in northwestern Massachusetts.

Brief Biography

Hometown:
Cape Cod, Massachusetts
Date of Birth:
November 16, 1954
Place of Birth:
Cape Cod, Massachusetts
Education:
B.A., Union College
Website:
http://www.wwnorton.com/catalog/fall01/004348.htm

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