Sunday, November 13, 2016

Troost, Marten J. (2008): Lost on Planet China

What is it about?

The book is a laid back travel journey of sorts, documenting the experiences of the author while travelling around China.

The book is not, however, a "proper" travel diary, but rather a mixture between that genre and stand-up comedy, as the author concentrates on selected notable experiences commented on with a substantial dose of humour.

Despite this - or in addition to it - the author manages to convey quite a good and credible picture of modern China as seen through a Westerner with very little preknowledge of the country or its culture.

Was it good?

The book is quite enjoyable; the experiences and encounters described and commented on are selected in a nice way, and the humorous commentary is enjoyable to read (a personal assessment, of course). The humorous writing style succeeds in a very fine balancing act: a bit less of it would have turned the book into a somewhat poor travel diary, and a a little more would have been tasteless.

In any event, I would not recommend the book on a factual basis alone. Rather, this book is intended and best used for entertainment.

The main take-away for me?

Actually, main take-away from the book is probably a stylistic one: the book really is exemplary in making poignant and witty remarks of everyday life. Thus, the author, with his example, at least implicitly encourages to "turn an critical-huorous eye" on everyday occurrances, and take those less seriously. Quite a sound piece of advice, I'd say.

Who should read the book?

The book is quite obviously of general interest. I would recommend it as light reading even if one was not particularly interested in China per se.

The book on Lost on planet China

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