The Early Arrival of Dreams: A Year in China

The Early Arrival of Dreams: A Year in China

by Rosemary Mahoney
     
 

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One year before the protests in Tiananmen Square, Rosemary Mahoney participated in a teaching exchange between Harvard and Hangzhou University. At Hangzhou she was able to overcome her students' usual rigidity and achieve a rare and intimate glimpse of their culture and their attitudes. This remarkable memoir captures both the dreams and the grim realities her

Overview


One year before the protests in Tiananmen Square, Rosemary Mahoney participated in a teaching exchange between Harvard and Hangzhou University. At Hangzhou she was able to overcome her students' usual rigidity and achieve a rare and intimate glimpse of their culture and their attitudes. This remarkable memoir captures both the dreams and the grim realities her Chinese students faced within the confines of an oppressive political regime.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Mahoney spent a year in China teaching English at Hangzhou University, one year prior to the massacre at Tiananmen Square. She found her students earnest, polite, fatalistic, resigned to their dependency on parents and the state. Many were sharply critical of their government, but feared the consequences of outspokenness or protest. While teaching a class on the collapse of the Third Reich, her students unanimously chimed, ``Hitler was a great man.'' She visited a women's prison where inmates, having committed ``acts harmful to marriage and family'' (presumably premarital sex), were ``re-educated.'' Everywhere she went she found tremendous poverty and backwardness, people suffocating under rules and regulations. With novelistic gifts and an eye for the telling detail, she captures the texture of daily life in a memorable odyssey. (Oct.)
Library Journal
Mahoney's book has the form of books such as Mark Saltzman's Iron and Silk ( LJ 2/1/87, and one of LJ 's ``Best Books of 1987''): the teacher or student abroad discovers Chinese society as seen through a year in one of its darkest corners, a provincial foreign languages department. To Mahoney, China is at times baffling, infuriating, and repellent. Her Chinese characters have the intensity of a medieval miniature, incised with short taut strokes of saturated color, while the deployment of incident, rhythm of character revelation, and development of the narrator are those of a crafty novelist. Since Mahoney discovers that to love China is to weep, her book is not the heartwarming one Saltzman's was; it is a deeper, more difficult, and perhaps a more lasting evocation of the country. Highly recommended for public library collections.-- Charles W. Hayford, Northwestern Univ., Evanston, Ill.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780618035496
Publisher:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
02/12/2003
Edition description:
First Mariner Books Edition
Pages:
336
Product dimensions:
(w) x (h) x 0.75(d)

Meet the Author


ROSEMARY MAHONEY is the author of Whoredom in Kimmage, a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, and the New York Times Notable Book The Early Arrival of Dreams. The recipient of a Whiting Writers’ Award, she lives in Rhode Island.

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