In 1995, at the age of twenty-three, Michael Meyer joined the Peace Corps and, after rejecting offers to go to seven other countries, was sent to a tiny town in Sichuan. Knowing nothing about China, or even how to use chopsticks, Meyer wrote Chinese words up and down his arms so he could hold conversations, and, per a Communist dean's orders, jumped into teaching his students about the Enlightenment, the stock market, and Beatles lyrics. Soon he realized his Chinese counterparts were just as bewildered by China's changes as he was.
Thus began an impassioned immersion into Chinese life. With humor and insight, Meyer puts readers in his novice shoes, winding across the length and breadth of his adopted country from a terrifying bus attack on arrival, to remote Xinjiang and Tibet, into Beijing's backstreets and his future wife's Manchurian family, and headlong into efforts to protect China's vanishing heritage at places like "Sleeping Dragon," the world's largest panda preserve.
In the last book of his China trilogy, Meyer tells a story both deeply personal and universal, as he gains greater – if never complete – assurance, capturing what it feels like to learn a language, culture and history from the ground up. Both funny and relatable, The Road to Sleeping Dragon is essential reading for anyone interested in China's history, and how daily life plays out there today.
|Product dimensions:||6.10(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.10(d)|
About the Author
Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Tribune, and on This American Life. The author of The Last Days of
Old Beijing and In Manchuria, Meyer teaches nonfiction writing at the University of Pittsburgh.
Table of Contents
Author's Note xv
Chapter 1 A Plunge into the Middle Country 1
Chapter 2 On the Stall-for-Time River 21
Chapter 3 Every Village Faces the Sun 39
Chapter 4 Sinking In 58
Chapter 5 Parting the Cloud of Compassion 70
Chapter 6 Far and Away in Tibet 86
Chapter 7 Tomorrow Will Be Even Better (but Today Things Will Just Get Worse) 99
Chapter 8 Thought Liberation 110
Chapter 9 Beijing Spring 126
Chapter 10 Meet the Parents 149
Chapter 11 Signposts 169
Chapter 12 Three Protests 179
Chapter 13 Arrivals and Departures 194
Chapter 14 Digressions on the New Frontier 209
Chapter 15 Countdown Clocks 229
Chapter 16 Defending the Ghosts 240
Chapter 17 Learning to Speak Olympics 250
Chapter 18 The Road to Sleeping Dragon 264
Chapter 19 "One World, One Dream" One Year Later 270
Chapter 20 A Trans-Siberian Exit 277