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2012/03/26

Meanwhile Don't Push and Squeeze: A Year of Life in China by Robert Berold

Meanwhile Don't Push and Squeeze: A Year of Life in China

Vividly capturing the tastes, sounds, and smells of Hangzou, China, this entertaining and witty travelogue details a year spent teaching creative writing at Zeijang University and the experiences of being a fish out of water. Containing contributions from the author as well as his students, this memoir fondly depicts China’s galloping economy, respect for ancient texts, and everyday people.

Robert Berold is the author of The Door to the River, The Fires of the Dead, and Rain Across a Paper Field and coauthor of Drive Out Hunger.

Book Review:
"I loved the whole of this book, but the best parts for me were the bits of writing he included from his students at the university. It gives the reader such insight into their lives and the lives of the people they interact with. There was a lovely assignment where they had to interview someone they didn't know. This produced windows into the lives of typical Chinese...."Thoughts from Botswana by Lauri Kubuitsile: Meanwhile Don't Push And Squeeze: A Year of Life in China by Robert Berold:


Book Review:
"It should be easy to review this book. After all, Berold has demonstrated his facility with language as a poet of some standing in South Africa; as editor, anthologist and interviewer he has shown a knack for careful observation and unusual insight. Moreover, China is a fascinating place, and its crucial role in geopolitical and economic affairs is unquestioned. China as experienced by a foreigner (particularly, for local readers, by a South African) is almost guaranteed to be an entertaining, enlightening subject. Unfortunately, for this reviewer, it’s not quite so straightforward.

Like Berold, I spent a year teaching English in east Asia. I was based in Japan, not China, but – despite the obvious cultural differences, and despite the historical antipathy between the two countries – the similarities are appreciable. Thus, I found myself reading Meanwhile Don't Push and Squeeze with a mixture of nostalgia, uncanny moments of recognition and, if I am honest, a healthy dose of envy...."


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