Theroux's penchant for train travel is well knownhis Great Railway Bazaar and The Old Patagonian Express are modern travel classics. On his latest jaunt he takes almost a year to crisscross China, traveling on 40 trains from the southern tropics to the wastelands of the Gobi in western Xinjiang to the dense metropolises of Shanghai, Beijing, and Canton. What emerges is a curious melange of ancient and modern: while some things are literally changing overnight, the Chinese still manufacture spittoons and steam engines. For Theroux, traveling is both about peopletheir thoughts, customs, and peculiaritiesand a form of autobiography, and here we learn as much about his own quirks and fancies as we do about the intriguing world of contemporary China. Laurence Hull, Cannon Memorial Lib., Concord, N.C.
"[Theroux's] books have enriched the travel literature of this century...China, with its guard down, its buttons undone, and its fingers greasy, looks even more magical with a little of its mystery revealed." USA Today
"[A] very funny, beautifully written, wonderfully observant, and deeply insightful description of the vagaries of life and politics in China." -- Conde Nast Traveler
"Fascinating...the portrait that emerges is a luminous, almost uncanny, and situationally accurate one. Theroux is particularly good at catching the surreal quality of China." The Miami Herald
"Theroux's genius is in his clear-eyed rendition of a fresh world and the deeper observations he attaches to it." The Chicago Tribune