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Mark Salzman
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Archive: Other Books > the man in the empty boat 4 stars & tears & giggles

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message 1: by Cheryl (new)

Cheryl  (cherylllr) Ok that was a heck of a read. One sitting. Intense, poignant, tears... no words do it justice. Thank goodness for the dashes of humor and sprinklings of joy. And the pictures at the end are a marvelous bonus.

Not the most supremely careful write.. iow, some awkward turns of phrase, some insights insufficiently explained... but tons of heart. Reminds me a bit of my fave, Michael Perry.

Ever since my son was assigned Iron and Silk in high school and immediately recommended it to me, I've enjoyed Salzman's memoirs. I really should give one of his novels a chance.

message 3: by annapi (new)

annapi | 5157 comments Sounds interesting! I will check it out.

message 4: by Book Concierge (new)

Book Concierge (tessabookconcierge) | 6396 comments This was a 3-star read for me. Interesting but I suspect a bit dated.

I gave his novel - The Soloist - 4****
(NOT to be confused with the nonfiction work by the same name that was made into a movie starring Jamie Foxx and Robert Downey Jr)

message 5: by Cheryl (new)

Cheryl  (cherylllr) Dated? How can a memoir be dated? I'm honestly confused.

message 6: by Book Concierge (new)

Book Concierge (tessabookconcierge) | 6396 comments Cheryl wrote: "Dated? How can a memoir be dated? I'm honestly confused."

The information relayed is of a China in the past, i.e. not today's China.

message 7: by Cheryl (new)

Cheryl  (cherylllr) This, The Man in the Empty Boat is not the memoir of China, that's Iron and Silk. Which is intended, btw, more as a memoir, not so much as an informative history.

And that's a memoir of Salzman's experience in China, when and where he was. Of course it's not an immediately recent memoir, but 'dated' is, in every context I've seen it, a dismissive and pejorative word and I actually think that memoirs of historical periods are *more* valuable than histories through the lens of research.

Bear in mind, too, that the value of I&S is also setting specific in the sense of geography and demographic as well as time. China was and is a huge country with people of all different income & education levels and, to a surprising degree, cultural traditions. You and I both know that without even doing any more reading, We just have to remind ourselves of it when we see anybody making any sweeping statements, or catch ourselves doing so.

My twenty yen. (Or whatever the conversion rate would be. ;)

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