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Original Essays | September 15, 2014

Lois Leveen: IMG Forsooth Me Not: Shakespeare, Juliet, Her Nurse, and a Novel



There's this writer, William Shakespeare. Perhaps you've heard of him. He wrote this play, Romeo and Juliet. Maybe you've heard of it as well. It's... Continue »
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    Juliet's Nurse

    Lois Leveen 9781476757445

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2 Local Warehouse Travel Writing- General
4 Remote Warehouse World History- China

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This title in other editions

Home Is a Roof Over a Pig: An American Family's Journey in China

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Home Is a Roof Over a Pig: An American Family's Journey in China Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

When all-American Aminta Arrington moves from suburban Georgia to a small town in China, she doesn't go alone. Her army husband and three young children, including an adopted Chinese daughter, uproot themselves too. Aminta hopes to understand the country with its long civilization, ancient philosophy, and complex language. She is also determined that her daughter Grace, born in China, regain some of the culture she lost when the Arringtons brought her to America as a baby.

In the university town of Tai'an, a small city where pigs' hooves are available at the local supermarket, donkeys share the road with cars, and the warm-hearted locals welcome this strange looking foreign family, the Arringtons settle in . . . but not at first. Aminta teaches at the university, not realizing she is countering the propaganda the students had memorized for years. Her creative, independent (and loud) American children chafe in their classrooms, the first rung in society's effort to ensure conformity. The family is bewildered by the seemingly endless cultural differences they face, but they find their way. With humor and unexpectedly moving moments, Aminta's story is appealingly reminiscent of Reading Lolita in Tehran. It will rivet anyone who is thinking of adopting a child, or anyone who is already familiar with the experience. An everywoman with courage and acute cultural perspective, Aminta recounts this transformative quest with a freshness that will delight anyone looking for an original, accessible point of view on the new China.

Review:

"American teacher Arrington (editor, Saving Grandmother's Face) nicely demystifies the Chinese language for English speakers in this down-to-earth memoir chronicling her family's stint in the Chinese province of Shandong on the eve of the Beijing Olympics. Moving to the edge of Tai'an, a university town at the base of Mount Tai, south of Beijing, Arrington and her career Army husband had finagled jobs as English teachers at the Taishan Medical College, located in a gray, polluted backwater where they were issued an exceedingly small apartment for their five-person (three-child) household. In fact, their middle, kindergarten-age daughter, Grace, was adopted from China, initially prompting the author's interest in learning Chinese. Arrington's subsequent straightforward lessons in very basic and key concepts proves a fascinating entrée into the Chinese mindset, for example, terms such as population (she stimulated an uneasy discussion in class about the skewed male-female ratio resulting from China's one-child policy); the dreaded exam, dictated by the one and only one textbook; and the notion of God, which was rendered as 'the emperor above.' Arrington was frankly shocked in the rural province by the rudimentary 'squatties,' lack of heating, and unenlightened view about women's leadership abilities (one proverb ran: 'Hair long, worldview short'), though she was ultimately charmed by the decent, good-hearted folk and the romantic, practical ramifications of home rendered in the Chinese character as a roof over a pig. Agent, Alexis Hurley, InkWell Management. (July)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

About the Author

Aminta Arrington has an M.A. in international relations from Johns Hopkins University School of advanced International Studies and studied at Waseda University in Tokyo. She has written about China for The Seattle Times, and she edited the anthology Saving Grandmother's Face: and Other Tales from Christian Teachers in China. Arrington continues to live and work in China with her family.

Product Details

ISBN:
9781590208991
Author:
Arrington, Aminta
Publisher:
Overlook Press
Subject:
Travel -- China.
Subject:
Travel Writing-General
Copyright:
Edition Description:
B-Hardcover
Publication Date:
20120731
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Grade Level:
from 12
Language:
English
Pages:
320
Dimensions:
9 x 6 in 1 lb
Age Level:
from 18

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Related Subjects

Biography » General
Featured Titles » Culture
History and Social Science » World History » China
Travel » Asia » China
Travel » Travel Writing » Asia
Travel » Travel Writing » General

Home Is a Roof Over a Pig: An American Family's Journey in China New Hardcover
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$26.95 In Stock
Product details 320 pages Overlook Press - English 9781590208991 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "American teacher Arrington (editor, Saving Grandmother's Face) nicely demystifies the Chinese language for English speakers in this down-to-earth memoir chronicling her family's stint in the Chinese province of Shandong on the eve of the Beijing Olympics. Moving to the edge of Tai'an, a university town at the base of Mount Tai, south of Beijing, Arrington and her career Army husband had finagled jobs as English teachers at the Taishan Medical College, located in a gray, polluted backwater where they were issued an exceedingly small apartment for their five-person (three-child) household. In fact, their middle, kindergarten-age daughter, Grace, was adopted from China, initially prompting the author's interest in learning Chinese. Arrington's subsequent straightforward lessons in very basic and key concepts proves a fascinating entrée into the Chinese mindset, for example, terms such as population (she stimulated an uneasy discussion in class about the skewed male-female ratio resulting from China's one-child policy); the dreaded exam, dictated by the one and only one textbook; and the notion of God, which was rendered as 'the emperor above.' Arrington was frankly shocked in the rural province by the rudimentary 'squatties,' lack of heating, and unenlightened view about women's leadership abilities (one proverb ran: 'Hair long, worldview short'), though she was ultimately charmed by the decent, good-hearted folk and the romantic, practical ramifications of home rendered in the Chinese character as a roof over a pig. Agent, Alexis Hurley, InkWell Management. (July)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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