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 (Hardcover)
The Strange and True Story of One Man's Attempt to Understand the World's Most Mystifying Nation or How He
Broadway, 9780767922005, 400pp.
Publication Date: July 8, 2008
The bestselling author of The Sex Lives of Cannibals returns with a sharply observed, hilarious account of his adventures in China—a complex, fascinating country with enough dangers and delicacies to keep him, and readers, endlessly entertained.
Maarten Troost has charmed legions of readers with his laugh-out-loud tales of wandering the remote islands of the South Pacific. When the travel bug hit again, he decided to go big-time, taking on the world’s most populous and intriguing nation. In Lost on Planet China, Troost escorts readers on a rollicking journey through the new beating heart of the modern world, from the megalopolises of Beijing and Shanghai to the Gobi Desert and the hinterlands of Tibet.
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.
Praise For 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…
LOST ON PLANET CHINA
"Troost, who entertained readers in The Sex Lives of Cannibals (2004) with tales of life on a South Pacific
island, now turns his attention to China. Settled in Sacramento, California, with his wife and two sons,
Troost gets restless and floats the idea of moving his family to China. His wife is amenable, so he sets off
to scout ahead. What he finds in Beijing is a crowded, smoggy city where something as simple as taking a
walk can be a dangerous proposition, given the hazardous traffic. Troost visits one burgeoning industrial
city after another, finding immense crowds, odd cuisine, piteous beggars, and masseuses offering sexual
favors. He also discovers a country that firmly believes that it’s on the edge of something big; in spite of a
great divide between poor and rich, China is undergoing a tremendous push toward modernity.
Troost’s crisp, engaging prose invites the reader to experience his adventures right alongside him. At turns
meditative, whimsical, humorous, and shocked, Troost is an excellent guide to the vast, multifaceted
country that is modern-day China." -- Booklist
“Troost’s adventures are peppered with tremendous humor. He’s magnificent writing about himself in the role of the bumbling Westerner. Readers will howl over his gastronomic imbroglios.” –Kirkus Reviews
“Troost is already being lauded as the new generation’s answer to Bill Bryson.” –Bookpage
“Troost’s crisp, engaging prose invites the reader to experience his adventures right alongside him. At turns meditative, whimsical, humorous, and shocked, Troost is an excellent guide to the vast, multifaceted country that is modern-day China.” –Booklist
Lost on Planet China: The Strange and True Story of One Man’s Attempt to Understand the World’s Most Mystifying Nation
J. Maarten Troost. Broadway, $22.95 (304p) ISBN 9780767922005
In his latest, veteran traveler Troost (The Sex Lives of Cannibals, Getting Stoned with Savages) embarks on an extended tour of “the new wild west,” China. Troost travels from the megalopolis of Beijing to small, remote trails in the hinterlands, the fabled Shangri-La and all points in between, allowing for a substantive look at an incredibly complex culture. He does an admirable job of summing up the country’s rich history, venturing to Nanjing to learn about China’s deep-seated animosity toward Japan; he also visits the Forbidden City, and the tomb of Mao Zedong, still very much revered despite his horrific record of human rights abuses. Gross disparity in wealth, omnipresent pollution and the teeming mass of humanity that greet Troost at every opportunity wear on him and the reader alike; the sense of claustrophobia only relents when he gets into more remote areas. Throughout, Troost is refreshingly upbeat, without a hint of ugly American elitism; he often steps aside to let the facts speak for themselves, and rarely devolves into complaints over the language barrier or other day-to-day frustrations. Those looking for tips on Hong Kong night life or other touristy secrets will be disappointed–few names are named–but readers interested in a warts-and-all look at this complicated, evolving country will find this a rich education. (July) — Publisher’s Weekly
GETTING STONED WITH SAVAGES
“One of Troost’s greatest successes is that he’s not reporting, exactly, not writing as a journalist would, but simply living his life in a faraway place and writing about it.”
--New York Times
“Troost manages to relate his misadventures in an irreverently funny style . . . this makes for a good beach read on your own vacation.”
The Sex Lives of Cannibals
“A comic masterwork of travel writing” —Publishers Weekly
“Troost has a command of place and narrative that puts him in the company of some of today’s best travel writers.” —Elle