cover image FOREIGN BABES IN BEIJING: Behind the Scenes of a New China

FOREIGN BABES IN BEIJING: Behind the Scenes of a New China

Rachel DeWoskin, . . Norton, $24.95 (332pp) ISBN 978-0-393-05902-1

DeWoskin moved to Beijing in 1989, shortly after the military squashed the democracy movement in Tiananmen Square, but just as China's younger population began embracing Western ideologies and commodities. This entertaining romp through her five-plus years in Beijing details her life as a PR consultant—and as the star of the wildly popular Chinese nighttime television drama Foreign Babes in Beijing . After getting the gig on a lark, DeWoskin became known, sometimes even in her real life, as the character Jiexi, an American who falls in love with a married Chinese man, in the 20-episode drama, which aired to an estimated 600 million viewers. Her memoir weaves humorous tales of Sino-U.S. culture clashes both on and off the set with astute observations of the two cultures, as well as a significant amount of Chinese history. Though she admits frequently to being homesick for New York, DeWoskin feels for the loss of more traditional Chinese culture: "Consumerism became a religion; companies arrived like missionaries... seducing the average Zhou Schmoe with products he had never known he needed." The book offers a generous helping of Chinese words (along with their English translations and insights into the young people's "Chinglish"), as well as Lost in Translation –esque glimmers of the differences between the Chinese and American acting worlds. Agent, Jill Grinberg. (May)