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When Things Get Dark: A Mongolian Winter's Tale

by

When Things Get Dark: A Mongolian Winter's Tale Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Matthew Davis's portrait of Mongolia is riveting, insightful, and deeply honest. He captures the timeless elements of this remarkable country ---the glorious history, the wide-open landscapes ---but he also writes about the forces that shape today's Mongol society. As a teacher he experiences it all firsthand: he lives in a nomad-style ger; he drinks too much, like the locals; he witnesses the mass migration to the cities and foreign countries. He even finds himself caught up in a quarantine for the plague. It's rare for a young person to have such intimate contact with such a distant country, and even rarer for him to write about it so well.-- Peter Hessler, author of Country Driving, River Town, and Oracle Bones At 23, Matt Davis moved to a remote Mongolian town to teach English.What he found when he arrived was a town--and a country--undergoing wholesale change from a traditional, countryside existence to a more urban, modern identity. When Things Get Dark documents these changes through the Mongolians Matt meets, but also focuses on the author's downward spiral into alcohol abuse and violence--a scenario he saw played out by many of the Mongolian men around him. Matt's self-destruction culminates in a drunken fight with three men that forces him to a hospital to have his kidneys X-rayed. He hits bottom in that cold hospital room, his body naked and shivering, a bloodied Mongolian man staring at him from an open door, the irrational thought in his head that maybe he is going to die there. His personal struggles are balanced with insightful descriptions of customs and interactions, and interlaced with essays on Mongolian history and culture that make for a fascinating glimpse of a mysterious place and people.

Review:

"Davis, a graduate student at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, recounts his two eventful years as a Peace Corps volunteer teaching in a small Mongolian town in his knowledgeable yet convoluted memoir. As a 23-year-old Midwesterner, nothing prepared him for the former Communist satellite, which is largely rural and teeming with the legacy of the Great Khan, yaks and goats being herded on the rugged steppes. Davis sees a landscape on the brink of change and a young population eager for a better life depicted in Internet cafes and media from the outside world. Yet the isolation and culture shock plunge him into 'a dangerous place psychologically,' and alcohol abuse and mayhem result in a brutal drunken fight. Other than some standard travelogue facts on Mongolian history and culture, Davis is correct when he concludes that his brief Mongolian journey was like 'a flutter of an eyelid' and subsequently will feel the same way to the reader." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Synopsis:

At 23, Matt Davis moved to a remote Mongolian town to teach English.What he found when he arrived was a townand a countryundergoing wholesale change from a traditional, countryside existence to a more urban, modern identity. When Things Get Dark documents these changes through the Mongolians Matt meets, but also focuses on the author's downward spiral into alcohol abuse and violence--a scenario he saw played out by many of the Mongolian men around him. Matt's self-destruction culminates in a drunken fight with three men that forces him to a hospital to have his kidneys X-rayed. He hits bottom in that cold hospital room, his body naked and shivering, a bloodied Mongolian man staring at him from an open door, the irrational thought in his head that maybe he is going to die there. His personal struggles are balanced with insightful descriptions of customs and interactions, and interlaced with essays on Mongolian history and culture that make for a fascinating glimpse of a mysterious place and people.

Synopsis:

At 23, Matt Davis moved to a remote Mongolian town to teach English.What he found when he arrived was a town—and a country—undergoing wholesale change from a traditional, countryside existence to a more urban, modern identity. When Things Get Dark documents these changes through the Mongolians Matt meets, but also focuses on the author's downward spiral into alcohol abuse and violence--a scenario he saw played out by many of the Mongolian men around him. Matt's self-destruction culminates in a drunken fight with three men that forces him to a hospital to have his kidneys X-rayed. He hits bottom in that cold hospital room, his body naked and shivering, a bloodied Mongolian man staring at him from an open door, the irrational thought in his head that maybe he is going to die there. His personal struggles are balanced with insightful descriptions of customs and interactions, and interlaced with essays on Mongolian history and culture that make for a fascinating glimpse of a mysterious place and people.

About the Author

MATTHEW DAVIS is a MFA graduate of the University of Iowas Nonfiction Writing Program and currently a graduate student at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. A chapter of this book has won the 2005 Atlantic Monthly prize in nonfiction and another chapter was a "notable essay" in the 2006 Best American Travel Writing series. Matt lives in Washington, D.C.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780312607739
Author:
Davis, Matthew
Publisher:
St. Martin's Press
Subject:
Personal Memoirs
Subject:
Asia - Central
Subject:
Mongolia Description and travel.
Subject:
Davis, Matthew - Travel - Mongolia
Subject:
Biography - General
Edition Description:
Hardcover
Publication Date:
20100231
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Plus one 8-page color photo insert
Pages:
320
Dimensions:
8.25 x 5.50 in

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Related Subjects

Biography » General
Travel » Asia » Central Asia

When Things Get Dark: A Mongolian Winter's Tale New Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$35.99 In Stock
Product details 320 pages St. Martin's Press - English 9780312607739 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Davis, a graduate student at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, recounts his two eventful years as a Peace Corps volunteer teaching in a small Mongolian town in his knowledgeable yet convoluted memoir. As a 23-year-old Midwesterner, nothing prepared him for the former Communist satellite, which is largely rural and teeming with the legacy of the Great Khan, yaks and goats being herded on the rugged steppes. Davis sees a landscape on the brink of change and a young population eager for a better life depicted in Internet cafes and media from the outside world. Yet the isolation and culture shock plunge him into 'a dangerous place psychologically,' and alcohol abuse and mayhem result in a brutal drunken fight. Other than some standard travelogue facts on Mongolian history and culture, Davis is correct when he concludes that his brief Mongolian journey was like 'a flutter of an eyelid' and subsequently will feel the same way to the reader." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Synopsis" by ,
At 23, Matt Davis moved to a remote Mongolian town to teach English.What he found when he arrived was a townand a countryundergoing wholesale change from a traditional, countryside existence to a more urban, modern identity. When Things Get Dark documents these changes through the Mongolians Matt meets, but also focuses on the author's downward spiral into alcohol abuse and violence--a scenario he saw played out by many of the Mongolian men around him. Matt's self-destruction culminates in a drunken fight with three men that forces him to a hospital to have his kidneys X-rayed. He hits bottom in that cold hospital room, his body naked and shivering, a bloodied Mongolian man staring at him from an open door, the irrational thought in his head that maybe he is going to die there. His personal struggles are balanced with insightful descriptions of customs and interactions, and interlaced with essays on Mongolian history and culture that make for a fascinating glimpse of a mysterious place and people.
"Synopsis" by ,
At 23, Matt Davis moved to a remote Mongolian town to teach English.What he found when he arrived was a town—and a country—undergoing wholesale change from a traditional, countryside existence to a more urban, modern identity. When Things Get Dark documents these changes through the Mongolians Matt meets, but also focuses on the author's downward spiral into alcohol abuse and violence--a scenario he saw played out by many of the Mongolian men around him. Matt's self-destruction culminates in a drunken fight with three men that forces him to a hospital to have his kidneys X-rayed. He hits bottom in that cold hospital room, his body naked and shivering, a bloodied Mongolian man staring at him from an open door, the irrational thought in his head that maybe he is going to die there. His personal struggles are balanced with insightful descriptions of customs and interactions, and interlaced with essays on Mongolian history and culture that make for a fascinating glimpse of a mysterious place and people.
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