Travelling the World with Books

A blog in which I describe a literary project to Travel the World with Books. I will include synopsis's of the books, historical context, conversations with my reading partner and my thoughts on the books. Feel free to comment any thoughts or recommendations for foreign books I can read.


11. 14th July 2018

A review of Ma Jian's 'Red Dust' by Lucie.

This travelogue is written by Ma Jain as he hitches and walks around China to learn about his huge home country and escape his life in Beijing.  It's a piecemeal description of different regions at a single point in time, which offers some insight into the life and plight of the Chinese people living under the communist regime of that time.     Ma Jain is a poet and a painter, he uses his networks to move around, remain undetected and travel on a tiny budget.  There are many times that he is penniless and he seems to take pride in his near death experiences.  He is quite foolhardy.   I'm not sure I liked him as a person, although I respect the way he wrote because it feels like he didn't keep much back and didn't change the facts to make himself look better.  I was, at times, uncomfortable with his attitude to women and how it went unchallenged.  I don't know if this was a conscious decision in his writing or if he lacks awareness.   I think the book is a little dated now in its attitudes but it does provide a snapshot of life at a particular time which is so different to that which we experience in the west that it can only be informative.


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