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Teenager Da Chen gathers soil from the riverbank near his village in China's far south, before he leaves to attend university in Beijing, to bear witness to the past and contain the sounds of the river of his childhood. Later, spilled onto the dry earth of the North, they will merge two parts of Chen's life, in this second volume of his lyrical trilogy of memoirs, a sequel to the acclaimed COLOURS OF THE MOUNTAIN.

Beginning with his first train journey to Beijing from his parents' farm, we rumble along with him in the overcrowded and disease-ridden railway carriage to the university. Here the author faces a range of challenges, including poor living conditions, lack of food, and suicidal roommates. Undaunted by these hurdles and armed with a dogged determination to learn English and familiarise himself with 'all things Western', he must compete with every other student to win a chance to study in the US - a chance the rests in the shrewd and corrupt hands of all-powerful professors. In a richly textured story - by turns poetic, ribald, hilarious, and heartbreaking - Chen retains his indomitable spirit, but will be be any closer to attaining his goal?

Paperback - large format - 307 pages

Published 2003

Very good condition - remainder mark to bottom edge
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  • Seller location: Hamilton, Waikato, NZ

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