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What Never Leaves

4.35  ·  Rating details ·  23 ratings  ·  10 reviews
In his debut work of fiction, Daniel Tam-Claiborne chronicles the experience of living and working as an English teacher in the rural Chinese town of Taigu. In a collection of twenty-two short stories organized around the theme of culture shock, he intersperses the narrative with scenes from his journeys further afield, while constantly questioning his own identity as a Ch ...more
Paperback, 242 pages
Published May 10th 2012 by Wilder Voice Books (first published May 1st 2012)
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4.35  · 
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 ·  23 ratings  ·  10 reviews

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Daniel Tam-Claiborne
Aug 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
Probably the best thing ever -- though, admittedly, I may be slightly biased.
Oct 23, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: short-stories
This book should be required reading for Fellows to Taigu!

"Probably the most challenging and frustrating part of the Fellowship was the fact that no one was there to tell us if we were doing a good job or not or what made a meaningful experience."

"Isn't there something weird about those incredibly rare instances in life when all of your expectations are fulfilled, but yet you still don't feel satisfied?"

"At each table there was a sheet of paper with the words 'Fight List' at the top that had the
Alejandra Wundram
Aug 05, 2012 rated it really liked it
If you are a neurotic that has ever lived abroad you will probably find yourself relating to the main character. The story is engaging in its explortation of the multiplicity of feelings that arise from from encountering new places, and specially that grow from deep but imposibly ephemeral social bonds. The narrative often leaves you wanting more exploration, and made me as a reader part of the uneasiness of an experience that could always be more yet remains llimited. I am eager to read the fut ...more
Abi Olvera
Jul 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book speaks to all those who yearn to travel or are life-long travelers. I've always been curious about life in China - what it would be like to actually live there, not just travel there. But it would be impossible to live long-term in every fascinating country. The author takes us on his two year journey as a teacher in rural-ish China along with his side travels, adventures, and relationships in the context of a person not permanently anywhere. I found myself highlighting several poignan ...more
Quincy Carroll
Feb 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
“Why should I blame anyone but myself if I cannot understand what I know nothing about?”

We are all—even the best of us—quick to judge. The unfamiliar confuses, upsets, and undermines our conventions, forcing us to put aside what we’re accustomed to, including the distinct, learned ways in which we’ve come to think. This is uncomfortable for many, as it presupposes an inherent deficit, if not outright fault, on the part of the observer. Pablo Picasso penned the line above in a statement entitled
Dmitri Alvarado
Oct 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This book is a great read for travelers, those with a streak of adventure, Chinese culture enthusiasts, and book lovers alike. I read this book not particularly knowing what to expect and I was pleasantly greeted with vignettes woven together by the overarching narration of the main character.

What I enjoyed most about the book was the introspection and growth of the character as he navigated through a time in his life filled with changes and sometimes uncontrollable situations/circumstances. Th
Aug 03, 2012 rated it really liked it
This is a fabulous collection of vignettes that weave together themes of travel, culture and identity, centering around two years of living and teaching abroad in rural China. Tam-Claiborne's honesty and raw, introspective voice are refreshing, and come through strongly in this collection. The first sentence of the foreword sets you, as a reader, up for the poetic prose that follows: "Before it was the Pacific heir to the American century or home to the world's largest detention of cyber disside ...more
Sep 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is the perfect read for anyone who is about to go abroad (or is already abroad) for an extended period of time! The author deals honestly with the experience of being uprooted and placed, somewhat unpreparedly, in a challenging and alien environment. The short stories about the narrator's experiences living and traveling in Asia examine bizarre events, cultural differences, and the bonds of love and friendship that he forms. Taken together, it's a sort of coming of age story, as the narrato ...more
Elizabeth Huff
Jun 15, 2013 rated it really liked it
A wonderful book for anyone who goes abroad at any time, the author really gives a sense of what it feels like to be an American in a foreign country and all the feelings and emotions that come with it. I thoroughly enjoyed comparing and contrasting my own experiences and also just remembering that wonderful feeling of being in a foreign country.
Aug 10, 2012 rated it really liked it
A great companion for adventurers.
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Daniel Tam-Claiborne is a freelance writer and MFA Candidate in Fiction at Warren Wilson College. A native of Brooklyn, NY, he graduated from Oberlin College with a B.A. in Creative Writing and East Asian Studies and from Yale University with an M.A. in Global Affairs. His stories have appeared in The Huffington Post, LOST, Sage, Klipspringer, and the literary anthology, While We’re Here . His fi ...more