Genene Murphy's Reviews > Undress Me in the Temple of Heaven

Undress Me in the Temple of Heaven by Susan Jane Gilman
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's review
Dec 27, 2008

really liked it
Read in December, 2008

This is easy to pick up. You'll vicariously embark on the globe-trotting adventure Gilman prepares to tell. And you'll quickly learn that there are two stories: one you thought you knew and one you couldn't predict. That's what gives this gem character, apart from travel memoirs that read like travel magazine essays rehashed into book deals.

Here's the deal: Gilman and her college friend craft a plan at Denny's to travel the world. They first land in Hong Kong. Postcards are sent. Collect calls are made. Here's the wrinkle: one traveler is perhaps schizophrenic and the other is unaware. Plans are diverted. Police are called. Set in China, the combination of story lines adds depth. While you may think that Gilman is slow to figure out what's going on, you'll appreciate that her storytelling consistently reflects her state-of-mind at the time. And with that, you'll become both friend and voyeur ... wanting desperately to inform something, anything and yet only able to watch it unfold.

What happened to Jonny? And where is Claire? What does she think of this telling? And, at some point, will we know? This is what lingers ... a compelling and thought-provoking read.
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Terry Tschann Skelton They made their plans at IHOP, not Denny's.

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