Shaken by China is a pacey novel based in modern China. It is eventful, thoughtful, and provides an intriguing insight into the modern republic.
Very briefly Shaken by China is a story in which a young man escapes his overpowering problems at home by taking a teaching job in the rapidly changing world of modern China. It is targeted at readers who like a fast moving story based in exotic surroundings.
The novel has a strong beginning in a Xian hospital where Keith Hackett, the main character, twice attempts suicide. The reader is rapidly hooked into the tale: why is Keith in China, what has he done that he is so ashamed of, and how was he reduced to the very depths of depression?
We next launch into Keith’s story: his teaching experience with Mary, his friendship with Peter, their ‘minder’ at the school, his observations of the joy and misery of the impoverished people who live around the school. Then suddenly, mysteriously, Mary disappears and Keith’s life starts to unravel as he becomes entangled with a pretty student. Realising his own stupidity he ends the relationship and slips into less passionate friendships. However, this new found contentment is fragile and is quickly dashed when the affair with his student rebounds with chilling repercussions.
The story then develops around Keith’s ignominious escape from the school, his long march across the mountains of Shaanxi province, and his debilitating life as a forced labourer in an illicit brick factory.
The novel is based around my own experience of living and teaching in China and uses true accounts of slavery and corruption that have occurred in the republic.
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About the Author
I always wanted to write, even as a kid, and now I do. I can transfer the desire to other projects and often do - but if there is nothing much on then I need to write. In my past life in the technical world I was often puzzled by colleagues who hated writing in the way that some people hate maths.They were forced to write whereas the pen had to be wrested from my hand. When my children were young I wrote for them. I clearly recall reading the second chapter of a book I started on the lives of a family of city foxes. I had almost finished reading a section in which most of the cubs were gassed in their earth when I looked up and was amazed to see tears streaming down the faces of my two daughters. The power of the written word? My first full book was published in 1991, It followed many technical papers and articles and was followed by two newsletters which I edited, and mostly wrote, for the next ten years. Four more technical books appeared after which I abandoned the world of technology and began doing my own thing. I travelled, became an Oxford city guide, and wrote a number of books and articles, some fiction, some non-fiction, some published, some not. See my bookshop on the web for all of my books and a shocking experience in an online pub.