Behind the Bamboo Curtain
by A.B. Kar
Trafford Publishing

"An adventure surprisingly turned out to be an exhibition of rare human spirit of ordinary folks in China."

For many people the word "China" evokes media images of marching communists, the massacre at Tiananmen Square, or poor peasants standing in rice paddies. Others see mental pictures of crowded, neon-lit cities and factories producing cheap products bound for the States. Yet some people, like the author, prefer to gather their impressions of the country through their own eyes and experience the enigma of China firsthand.

Kar waited until he was in his 70s to visit China. A native of India and an accomplished world traveler, the author took three trips from 2007 to 2008 to discover the mysteries of the most populated place on the planet. The resulting travelogue of his time there gives readers a glimpse into not only some of the spots a tourist would likely visit but also into the daily life of a foreigner living in the country. For example, while offering his impressions of locations such as the Temple of Heaven and the Global Village he also recounts with wry humor his more mundane efforts at navigating the Chinese banking system, buying sheets for a wedding gift, attempting to find the post office, and outwitting con artists. Through it all he discovers a nation that is constantly progressing and the true humanity of its people.

Part of the charm of the writing is found in Kar's use of his native idiom and the snippets of thought he employs instead of traditional paragraphs, even though these devices may at first confuse some Western readers. These, along with the author's deft descriptions and insights, help make his book highly enjoyable.

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