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Chinese dissident and sometimes vagabond Ma Jian offers a sharp-edged, often surprising portrait of his native land, one that takes his readers into corners that few non-Chinese travelers have seen.

In 1983, Ma, tired of life in a China that, he writes, "feels like an old tin of beans that, having lain in the dark for forty years, is beginning to burst at the seams," grew his hair, quit his job, and took to the road. As he recounts in his able--and, at times, very strange--memoir, over the next three years he wandered into the western desert, through the mountains of Shaanxi, down the steamy southern coast, and, eventually, to Tibet. Along the way he slipped by inquisitive police agents, ate dodgy meals, fell in love a time or two, and learned much about his country--more than he bargained on, for, as he writes, "I am exhausted. China is too old, its roots too deep. I feel dirty from the delving."

Ma's travelogue, alternately humorous and sober, offers a constantly illuminating view of life behind the Great Wall. --Gregory McNamee


Red Dust: A Path Through China
25,59 €
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