This coming Sunday's New York Times Book Review has a wonderful review, by Lesley Downer, of Dreaming in Chinese, by Deborah Fallows (the missus). Wonderful not so much in the sense of "very positive," although it's that, as in understanding and conveying the spirit of the author and the book. Eg:
>>>Unlike conventional journalists, she's not very interested in press conferences, in listening to what the politicians say. Little by little, she finds herself becoming more like the laobaixing [the "common folk," 百家姓]: learning to deal with the plethora of rules as the Chinese do -- by finding ways around them.<<<
The online version is up now, but of course it will look even better in print. (Subscribe!) A similar review by Joanne Latimer in Canada's Macleans magazine this week is very nice in the same two ways. Hey, why not subscribe to that too? Sample:
>>>Fallows is at her best when interacting with her adopted countrymen--sneaking a Toblerone into the Beijing Olympics, taking tai chi, getting a massage from a blind man, ordering takeout from Taco Bell. Her quest to understand the language of love is hilarious.<<<
Don't get me started on implications of that last sentence. (Update: also very nice review here, by KJ Dell'Antonia, in the "Book of the Week" section of Slate's XX Factor.) Tomorrow Deb leaves on a West Coast book tour, starting with Seattle, Portland, and SF. Details on the "Upcoming Events" tab of her site. Tell her hello for me.
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