Sunday, July 13, 2008

Maarteen Troost | "Lost on Planet China: The Strange and True Story of One Man's Attempt to Understand the World's Most Mystifying Nation, or How He Became Comfortable Eating Live Squid"

Paul Theroux and Pico Iyer are among my most favorite travel writers on the planet. Having lived, worked or traveled in 41 countries, another perspective of places I have been to are very welcome. Here is another travel writer that I stumbled acorss recently (he is speaking at Google Mountain View later this week) that sounds very, very promising.
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Lost on Planet China finds Troost dodging deadly drivers in Shanghai; eating Yak in Tibet; deciphering restaurant menus (offering local favorites such as Cattle Penis with Garlic); visiting with Chairman Mao (still dead, very orange); and hiking (with 80,000 other people) up Tai Shan, China's most revered mountain. But in addition to his trademark gonzo adventures, the book also delivers a telling look at a vast and complex country on the brink of transformation that will soon shape the way we all work, live, and think. As Troost shows, while we may be familiar with Yao Ming or dim sum or the cheap, plastic products that line the shelves of every store, the real China remains a world—indeed, a planet--unto itself.

Maarten Troost
brings China to life as you've never seen it before, and his insightful, rip-roaringly funny narrative proves that once again he is one of the most entertaining and insightful armchair travel companions around.


J. MAARTEN TROOST is the author of Getting Stoned with Savages and The Sex Lives of Cannibals. His essays have appeared in the Atlantic Monthly, the Washington Post, and the Prague Post. He spent two years in Kiribati in the Equatorial Pacific and upon his return was hired as a consultant by the World Bank. After several years in Fiji and Vanuatu, he recently relocated to the U.S. and now lives with his wife and two sons in California.



PS: Maarten's talk at Google can be found on YouTube on the Authors@Google channel. The talk is at this link.

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