Jun 12, 2021
Unsavory Elements: Stories of Foreigners on the Loose in China
Posted by TomCarter DominicStevenson Peter Hessler Simon Winchester SusanConley Jonathan Watts Deborah Fallows Alan Paul

Unsavory Elements is an unprecedented anthology of 28 new, original, true stories from some of the most celebrated foreign writers that have lived in modern China Westerners are flocking to China in increasing numbers to chase their dreams even as Chinese emigrants seek their own dreams abroad, and life as an outsider in China has many sides to it weird, fascinating andUnsavory Elements is an unprecedented anthology of 28 new, original, true stories from some of the most celebrated foreign writers that have lived in modern China Westerners are flocking to China in increasing numbers to chase their dreams even as Chinese emigrants seek their own dreams abroad, and life as an outsider in China has many sides to it weird, fascinating and appalling Edited by Tom Carter, this anthology falls under the genre of travel writing, yet travel is just the beginning of the adventure hereDIA REVIEWS Great vignettes from world class writersa celebration of the outsider s experience in China, in all of its juiciness and fetid rancour Time Out Shanghai Excellent Concise and truthful South China Morning Post Although other anthologies have featured outstanding journalism about China by Western writers, Carter s collection is the first to focus on the wide ranging experiences of foreigners living in China China Daily The authors, mostly experienced writers who have traveled widely in China, offer tales beyond those of the usual laowai experience Shanghai Daily The majority of stories are individual gems and an enjoyably diverse range of issues are found in the book Time Out Hong Kong The moral of this collection appears to be that though almost everything has changed, one basic thing the allure of China to a certain kind of Westerner remains curiously consistent Taipei Times Funny, poigna

  • Title: Unsavory Elements: Stories of Foreigners on the Loose in China
  • Author: TomCarter DominicStevenson Peter Hessler Simon Winchester SusanConley Jonathan Watts Deborah Fallows Alan Paul
  • ISBN: 9789881616401
  • Page: 406
  • Format: Paperback
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    Unsavory Elements Stories of Foreigners on the Loose in China Unsavory Elements is an unprecedented anthology of new original true stories from some of the most celebrated foreign writers that have lived in modern China Westerners are flocking to China in i

    Richard Burger

    I ve never met an expat in China who didn t have his or her own extraordinary stories to tell, stories that at times made them stop and ask themselves, What exactly am I doing here Every day one can experience an only in China moment, like waiting three hours to see a bank teller or seeing teenagers sleeping and snoring at an Internet cafe Having lived in Singapore and Taipei, I ve been struck by the cities huge differences with China in terms of daily life In the former two, there are rarely an [...]

    Emma Sea

    Great collection of essays which shed some light on a few of the cross cultural miscommunications I ve experienced The best of the bunch for me was a hockey fic, natch, Diplomacy on Ice by Rudy Kong, about a friendly ice hockey match in Manchuria I didn t realize until I d finished that the book was somewhat controversial Many other readers had the same negative response to Tom Carter s piece about visiting a small town brothel The complete lack of empathy or insight, and the horrible devaluing [...]

    Isham Cook

    Even before this book came to press it was already in the thick of polemic and controversy for all the wrong reasons Some advance copy reviews by feminist editors in the expat zines of Beijing and Shanghai have been withering, particularly of editor Tom Carter s own exploitative and juvenile contributing story on a brothel visit e.g timeoutshanghai featur It is actually one of the best pieces in the book, its slapstick style perfectly suited to the tawdry circumstances of a group of clumsy forei [...]


    Unsavory Elements is a new anthology of western writers who have lived in China in recent years If you think of any author who has published a book about China over the last decade, it s very likely that you ll find him or her in Unsavory Elements.What surprised me wasn t that this book has such an all star line up, but that it contains work of writers I hadn t previously known.One of my favorite essays is Kaitlin Solimine s Water, for Li Ming, a tribute to her host mother from when she lived in [...]

    Yang Chu

    the quality is all over the place some decent pieces by old china hands, but way too many from the english teaching crowd at times i was quite peeved to have paid list price for a slew of typical oh chiiiiina stories that are a dime a dozen off any drunkard in Sanlitunr ultimately it was Jonathan Watts and Pete Spurrier that salvaged this collection oh and Tom Carter s is as bad as they say, not because it s about prostitution but because it s just try hard and horribly written.

    Jessica Thomas

    Interesting and enlightening collection of true stories focusing on foreigners relationships with the Chinese, their roles in Chinese society, and adapting to Chinese culture Contributors of all new, original essays include best selling authors Peter Hessler, Susan Conley, Simon Winchester and Michael Meyer.Some new names as well such as standouts Dan Washburn, Susie Gordon, Kaitlin Solimine and Tom Carter also the editor Essential reading for anyone planning on expatriating to the PRC.


    A collection of engrossing sketches from well known western writers on the frontlines of New China The true tales they tell are timely and address China during its most recent and dramatic period of change Topics such as fu er dai China s nouveau riche , forging college entrance essays for wealthy Chinese students, and ethnic clashes in Tibet give this book a contemporary edge lacking in dated memoirs like Peter Hessler s River Town Highly recommended for anyone taking the great leap into China. [...]


    A few of the stories were ok and have made me want to read further books by certain authors However other stories were superficial and at times irritating Maybe this was becuase they were short stories but I felt these accounts just touched the surface of a different culture and only demonstrated the non inclusivity of a few of the authors I found Chris Thrall s account of living in Hong Kong showed a deeper understanding and sensitivity towards the cultural differences between East and West.

    Amy VanGundy

    Very interesting takes on foreigner life in China A good representation of how everyone has their own China life and they are far from the same However, all the stories, felt like teasers, too short, leaving me like I d eaten a puff pastry or something I d like longer stories and less sensational Just my opinion.

    Jessica Katelyn

    These true tales are extremely well written by professional China writers who know how to weave entertaining narratives with broader cultural themes Will resonate with any and all whom have spent time in the Middle Kingdom or are considering making the move Might have benefitted by upping the word count on brand name authors and purging submissions from the lesser knowns.

    Daniel da Rocha

    as usual with collections of short essays, quality varies But as an expat in China, you can t help but be amused with other people s experiences around here recommended


    The vignettes are uneven, but it s worth a read.


    If you happen to be a China expat, no doubt you have a crazy story to tell I may feel like an old China hand myself at this point, but I came in 2008 just as the last of the real wildness was getting homogenized I have my own stories, but nothing like the best of these Somehow editor Tom Carter has captured the cream of the crazy China experiences, and what a read it is.Like any anthology, it can be hit or miss However, there are no great misses, only adequate stories lost among the truly memora [...]


    O would some power the giftie gie us to see ourselves as others see us , February 7, 2014Tom Carter is fast becoming a leader in international diplomacy His immensely successful book CHINA PORTRAIT OF A PEOPLE remains a model f melding photography with commentary This handsome hunk adventurer is from San Francisco originally but won a degree in political science from the American University in Washington, DC and packed his backpack for China in 2004 where he spent two years trekking across 35,00 [...]

    E Sheridan

    There are some lovely vignettes of expat family life in this compilation, most notable Susan Conley s exploration of hutong culture with her children, Alan Paul s lampoon ish family adventure in Szechuan, Kay Bratt taking a disabled orphan under her wing, and Kaitlin Solimine s heart warming homestay experience.But beware this book lives up to its Unsavory title with several profane tales which left me shaken rather than stirred not one but two stories about beatings Hessler and Humes , an Engli [...]


    These stories and glimpses of foreigners encountering China are very illuminating I am getting ready to visit China and devouring all the books and movies that I can fit in This was a nice easy book to read and it provokes thought and comparison to other things that I have read about China This book is such a pleasant way to get better prepared for my trip I also read Wild Swans, Life and Death in Shanghai, Red Azaleas, Oracle Bones and But Unsavory Elements was the lighter read while still hav [...]


    Life as an expat Doesn t matter what country it is, there are good days, bad days, and really bad days where you want to hide out in your home and pretend you live a normal life This book has experiences with all of those perspectives represented Yes, these stories are specific to China and with that you will gain some perspective into modern Chinese culture the good, the bad, and the truly ugly It can be a hard place, but the challenge is worth it and don t let the bad stories scare you away

    Lee Mavin

    Unsavory Elements is a great collection of short stories that are all themed around foreigners There are funny, sad and touching stories within, perfect for anyone whose worked in a foreign country I absolutely loved the contrast in narrative style and setting even though the book is limited to the above themes.Those who are into travel stories will love this book


    It was okay Lots of different stories Maybe I was expecting this to be on the funny side, but it turned out to be a collection of different essays Some of the essays were interesting, but some took time to understand Nevertheless, its a good read in understanding how westerners handle being in China.


    I actually liked this book than the 3 star rating might indicate Or I should say that I liked some of the stories a lot Unfortunately that wasn t true of all them I do recommend it both as a good bit of insight into how complicated a country China is and how diverse the reasons for being there and the experiences of foreigners there.

    John Robbet

    Could have done without some of the sleazy tales like Susie Gordon s night out with rich Shanghainese drug users, Nury Vittachi s bar room mishap, or Tom Carter s R rated rendering of a bottom rung brothel

    Noel French

    Good, quick read that dishes out a number of China slice of life stories from excellent and among China watchers well known Western authors Importantly, it approaches China through various lenses that offer a perspective apart from the normal narrative of China s rise.

    Marko Williamson

    Great writing from some great authors all ruined by one highly offensive essay Tom Carter s transaction with teenaged prostitutes that has single handedly overturned all that human trafficking NGOs in Asia have worked so hard to achieve.



    Ian McHugh

    A varied and enjoyable look at ex pat life in China Some pieces are better than others but the mish mash of stories and perspectives mean this is a very entertaining read.


    If I had have written my review of this book a month ago just after I finished it I would have a lot interesting things to report Unfortunately I m a busy person who reads listens to books constantly and forgets the finer details rather quickly these days This is a fascinating read for anyone of European descent who has spent time as an expat in China and Taiwan or other various Asian nations I expect Actually if the subject matter intrigues you I could recommend this for nearly any reader It s [...]

    Kate Denis

    Anyone interested in reading about modern China from the prospective of Westerners will already be familiar with heavyweight writers Peter Hessler and Simon Winchester, who make token appearances in the anthology.The reader should therefore focus their attentions on the new talent commissioned by editor Tom Carter Dominic Stevenson, who spent 2 years in a Chinese prison for drug dealing, writers a light hearted yet thoughtful account of his interactions with one of the guards Jonathan Campbell, [...]

    Silvia Lopez

    I liked this anthology s clever balance of comedy with serious works Guardian correspondent Jonathan Watts, explorer Jeff Fuchs, AP journalist Audra Ang Humorous writers of note include Rudy Kong ice hockey brawl with Chinese cops , Derek Sandhaus baijiu binge drinking , Matt Muller trying to teach English to a class full of disinterested students , and Matthew Polly making a go of a t shirt venture to pay for kung fu classes.

    Ann Madlina

    Riveting collection of true narratives by some of the country s most notable Old China Hands I shan t expect any other China anthology to ever top this one in terms of scope of topics or name recognition of the writers involved Published locally by Earnshaw Books in Shanghai, so I am doubly glad to help support an independent publisher.


    Great collection of life people in China, each chapter written by someone new The majority of which encouraged me to read other books by the authors.

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    Unsavory Elements: Stories of Foreigners on the Loose in China