- Lost on PlanetChina
- One Man’s Attempt to Understand the World’s Most Mystifying Nation
- J. Maarten Troost
- Broadway Books, 2008, 380 pp. paper back.
- ISBN 978-0-7679-22-1-2
With a backpack, three words of Chinese and an overdose of curiosity, Troost travels around China, wanting to understand that nation. With China rapidly becoming world dominant Troost and his wife wonder about moving there so their two young boys could learn Mandarin.
Troost’s writing is often humorous and self-deprecating. I admired his wisdom in near-escapes from moral danger and held my breath as he wrote of physically dangerous situations.
He concludes that China is becoming powerful but that the main goal of the people is ‘make money’. He learned to haggle, push and shove like the Chinese at ticket counters, taxi stands and train boardings and decided the country lives without the rule of law. He encountered chaos, confusion, vast gulfs between the rich and poor, and lung-destroying air pollution. Only around Tibet did he find blue sky and clean air. In spite of problems, he also enjoyed his journey.
Having lived in places Troost visited, I believe he wrote honestly. His conclusion about moving his family there? You must read the book to know.
A fun book to read, Troost’s writing makes you feel right there with him.
© Geni J. White