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“You don’t have to know Mandarin to be captivated by Deborah Fallows’s Dreaming in Chinese…. Forget Berlitz – that just teaches words. Deborah Fallows shows us that the cultural implications of those words teach us about each other.” —Sara Nelson, O: The Oprah Magazine
“While it isn’t necessary to know the language of a foreign country when you live abroad, studying that language can infinitely ease and illuminate your entrée there. Deborah Fallows underscores this lesson again and again in this compelling account of her own trials and triumphs with studying Mandarin while residing in Shanghai and Beijing. A linguist by training, Fallows shows how even small advancements such as mastering a single word or phrase can unlock grammatical and cultural secrets…. Over the course of her three-year immersion, her ever-deepening insights immeasurably enrich her engagement with China—and ours as well.” —Don George, National Geographic Traveler
“Fallows manages to take the relatively dry subject of translation and create a warm and witty memoir…. [taking] readers on a ride through Chinese culture that is as entertaining as it is informative.” —Colleen Mondor, Booklist
“Any traveler who shudders at the prospect of deciphering Chinese should be armed with a copy of this book.”—Evan Osnos, The New Yorker
“China seems an impossible mountain to climb, yet Deborah Fallows takes a less traveled path, climbing the mountain from the inside. She recounts her journey with a perfect balance of wise observation and wit. To follow her climb yields startling insights about the Chinese people and culture, the kind of insights lugubrious China essays rarely yield. "Dreaming in China" is both vital and a joy to read.”—Ken Auletta
“Dreaming in Chinese is a little gem, sparkling with wonderful tales about China, its language and its people.”—Rob Gifford, former NPR Beijing correspondent, and author of China Road
“In Dreaming in Chinese, Deborah Fallows opens up a window onto Chinese urban life through its notoriously difficult language. A charming and insightful book.”—Susan Shirk, author of China: Fragile Superpower
“While all too many books on China try to make sense of this infinitely provocative country from the top down, Deborah Fallows looks at it from the bottom up, trying to figure out what makes the place work through personal encounters, the language and everyday occurrences. She has written a refreshing and insightful book.” —Orville Schell, director of the Asia Society’s Center on U.S.-China Relations
"Dreaming in Chinese is original, entertaining, gracefully written and provides important insights into life and culture in contemporary China. Deborah Fallows is a gifted linguist who helps her readers understand the complexities of the Chinese language. But she does much more. She is an astute observer and through simple yet compelling anecdotes she helps her readers experience everyday life in China. This is a terrific book for anyone who wants to improve their understanding of this extraordinary country. " —Laura D. Tyson, Professor of Global Management, Haas School of Business, University of California at Berkeley
“Deborah Fallows' sparkling memoir of her three years in China makes us feel we are on the streets with her in Shanghai and Beijing--haggling with merchants and cops and learning to be rude and friendly, Chinese-style. The joy of this book is its sense of humor and adventure: Deb decided to live outside the expatriate ghetto: learning the language, drinking the water, living the real Chinese life like a laobaixing (ordinary person).Whether it's learning not to say "please," or understanding why Chinese hate the number "4" or ordering take-away at a Chinese Taco Bell, Deb jumps in head-first and makes us laugh at her often comical embrace of this culture. I can't think of a better book for someone who wants to understand the lovable, infuriating and hilarious country that is China.” —David Ignatius, columnist for The Washington Post and author of Body of Lies
All in all a wonderful book I will read over and over again.
Using insights she gained from her language studies, this short fun book explores Chinese culture through the idiosyncrasies of Mandarin, China's most common language.
I enjoyed the book thoroughly, finding it informative as well as simply a good read.
Dreaming in Chinese is well-written, entertaining, and informative. After reading it myself I bought another copy to give as a gift. Well worth reading.Published 1 month ago by Marjorie
The book was recommended and I read about 1/2 but found it very slow going. Visited China recently and still have not finished the book.Published 1 month ago by PWaitman-Ingebretsen
This book is perfect for those who intend to learn Chinese or who have been exposed already to its everyday vagaries. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Amazon Customer
I decided after reading one chapter of this book that it would be my special treat read for the summer. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Lyndsey
I smiled and often laughed out loud when I related to the many scenes and struggles and moments of small thrills that Deborah wrote about. Read morePublished 6 months ago by The Baroness
This book was recommended to me in preparation for a trip to Shanghai. It's an interesting perspective on Chinese culture through the language. Read morePublished 7 months ago by David
The combination of her experiences with the learning of the language as well as living in China, and what that combination revealed to the author was very interesting and gave... Read morePublished 7 months ago by James H. Drummond