SOUTH OF THE CLOUDS: Exploring the Hidden Realms of China

Seth Faison, Author . St. Martin's $24.95 (288p) ISBN 978-0-312-30640-3

In 1984, when Faison first went to China to study, the country was just recovering from the Cultural Revolution, and a "big nose" like Faison was quite the oddity. Still, Faison was sociable, chatting up everyone willing to talk. After a brief stint as a cub reporter at the Hong Kong Standard , he was assigned to Beijing in 1988, in time to cover the crisis of Tiananmen Square in the spring of 1989. Having become a China expert of sorts, Faison came back to New York and, after covering the Golden Venture sinking, returned to China in 1995 as the New York Times 's Shanghai bureau chief. While Faison tells the big stories with a journalist's economy—just enough background to refresh one's memory, coupled with an eye for telling details—it's the smaller, more personal stories that enthrall. When he describes his midnight forays to the sauna massage spas at his hotels, or his love affair with China's leading choreographer, a notorious transsexual, it's hard to stop reading—and it's not because he shares any prurient details. Readers will become very fond of Faison—his frank doubts about his masculinity, his willingness to wonder about his attraction to Chinese women and, yes, his longing for spiritual depth. An inspiring personal journey, an informative cultural exploration—Faison's memoir works on many levels. Photos. Agent, David Black. (Oct.)

Reviewed on: 09/06/2004
Release date: 10/01/2004
Genre: Nonfiction
Hardcover - 978-0-312-30641-0
Open Ebook - 288 pages - 978-1-4299-7368-7
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