Despite the exotic setting, the real jewels are the glimpses of a determined narrator who is not afraid to take the lead...

RIDING THE ASIAN DRAGON

EXTRAORDINARY LIVES OF ORDINARY PEOPLE

A female backpacker describes her solo adventures traveling through Asia in this densely packed debut memoir.

While planning a yearlong sabbatical, Boulet was unexpectedly laid off from her job in Great Britain. She decided to skip some of her trip preparations, including learning basic Chinese, so she could start her round-the-world trip less than a week later. After a month in South America, she moved on to Asia, the memoir’s focus. Traveling through Hong Kong, China, Tibet, Mongolia, Nepal, India, Thailand, Cambodia and Laos, Boulet sought out remote areas unspoiled by tourism. To save money she stayed in huts, family homes, hostels and run-down hotels and traveled spontaneously via a mixture of trains, buses and private vehicles. Surprisingly, it was her transportation choices that proved to be the most dangerous aspects of her trip. Throughout the book, Boulet focuses on her connections with fellow travelers and locals. A Tibetan man merits his own chapter, and a few others appear in the epilogue, but most are brief, one-time episodes. Even shocking encounters, such as a monk who asked her to take a 4-year-old to India so he can have an education, merit a single paragraph. The summarized conversations, along with a penchant for passive voice and a huge volume of detail on every tiny village and temple, make for dense, slow reading. Luckily, Boulet is livelier than her writing. She bravely hiked to the Mount Everest base camp in adverse conditions. She agreed to drive a motorcycle for the first time—at night on Cambodian roads filled with cows, chickens and enormous potholes. She showed ingenuity when she ran short of money in Laos, and compassion when she helped a young postcard vendor.

Despite the exotic setting, the real jewels are the glimpses of a determined narrator who is not afraid to take the lead role in her astonishing adventures.

Pub Date: Nov. 30, 2011

ISBN: 978-1463779764

Page Count: 265

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Jan. 17, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2012

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

ONE DAY IN THE LIFE OF IVAN DENISOVICH

While a few weeks ago it seemed as if Praeger would have a two month lead over Dutton in their presentation of this Soviet best seller, both the "authorized" edition (Dutton's) and the "unauthorized" (Praeger's) will appear almost simultaneously. There has been considerable advance attention on what appears to be as much of a publishing cause celebre here as the original appearance of the book in Russia. Without entering into the scrimmage, or dismissing it as a plague on both your houses, we will limit ourselves to a few facts. Royalties from the "unauthorized" edition will go to the International Rescue Committee; Dutton with their contracted edition is adhering to copyright conventions. The Praeger edition has two translators and one of them is the translator of Doctor Zhivago Dutton's translator, Ralph Parker, has been stigmatized by Praeger as "an apologist for the Soviet regime". To the untutored eye, the Dutton translation seems a little more literary, the Praeger perhaps closer to the rather primitive style of the original. The book itself is an account of one day in the three thousand six hundred and fifty three days of the sentence to be served by a carpenter, Ivan Denisovich Shukhov. (Solzhenitsyn was a political prisoner.) From the unrelenting cold without, to the conditions within, from the bathhouse to the latrine to the cells where survival for more than two weeks is impossible, this records the hopeless facts of existence as faced by thousands who went on "living like this, with your eyes on the ground". The Dutton edition has an excellent introduction providing an orientation on the political background to its appearance in Russia by Marvin Kalb. All involved in its publication (translators, introducers, etc.) claim for it great "artistic" values which we cannot share, although there is no question of its importance as a political and human document and as significant and tangible evidence of the de-Stalinization program.

Pub Date: June 15, 1963

ISBN: 0451228146

Page Count: 181

Publisher: Praeger

Review Posted Online: Oct. 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1963

Did you like this book?

A touching family drama that effectively explores the negative impact of stress on fragile relationships.

A WEEK AT THE SHORE

A middle-aged woman returns to her childhood home to care for her ailing father, confronting many painful secrets from her past.

When Mallory Aldiss gets a call from a long-ago boyfriend telling her that her elderly father has been gallivanting around town with a gun in his hand, Mallory decides it’s time to return to the small Rhode Island town that she’s been avoiding for more than a decade. Mallory’s precocious 13-year-old daughter, Joy, is thrilled that she'll get to meet her grandfather at long last, and an aunt, too, and she'll finally see the place where her mother grew up. When they arrive in Bay Bluff, it’s barely a few hours before Mallory bumps into her old flame, Jack, the only man she’s ever really loved. Gone is the rebellious young person she remembers, and in his place stands a compassionate, accomplished adult. As they try to reconnect, Mallory realizes that the same obstacle that pushed them apart decades earlier is still standing in their way: Jack blames Mallory’s father for his mother’s death. No one knows exactly how Jack’s mother died, but Jack thinks a love affair between her and Mallory’s father had something to do with it. As Jack and Mallory chase down answers, Mallory also tries to repair her rocky relationships with her two sisters and determine why her father has always been so hard on her. Told entirely from Mallory’s perspective, the novel has a haunting, nostalgic quality. Despite the complex and overlapping layers to the history of Bay Bluff and its inhabitants, the book at times trudges too slowly through Mallory’s meanderings down Memory Lane. Even so, Delinsky sometimes manages to pick up the pace, and in those moments the beauty and nuance of this complicated family tale shine through. Readers who don’t mind skimming past details that do little to advance the plot may find that the juicier nuggets and realistically rendered human connections are worth the effort.

A touching family drama that effectively explores the negative impact of stress on fragile relationships.

Pub Date: May 19, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-11951-3

Page Count: 416

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: March 2, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020

Did you like this book?

more