Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.
Kosher Chinese: Living, Teaching, and Eating with China's Other Billion Paperback – July 5, 2011
|New from||Used from|
Frequently Bought Together
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
From Publishers Weekly
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
“A funny and informative account of life in Guizhou province, deep in the heart of China. As a Peace Corps volunteer, Michael Levy came to know and love a part of the country that few visitors see, a world away from Beijing and Shanghai.” ―Peter Hessler, author of River Town and Oracle Bones
“As a Peace Corps volunteer, Michael Levy taught for two years in a corner of China overlooked by tourists and correspondents. Kosher Chinese is a heartfelt, engaging memoir that captures at once the poignancy and humor of daily life in the new China. Levy's narrative balances his own acclimation to China with his students' acclimation to university life, and independence. This is what it feels like to be immersed behind the headlines--for Levy, it came to feel like home.” ―Michael Meyer, author of The Last Days of Old Beijing: Life in the Vanishing Backstreets of a City Transformed
“Michael Levy is the tour guide to the real China we all long for. Funny, insightful, full of warmth and wit, Kosher Chinese brims with interesting characters and scenes, and it marks the debut of a fresh new voice in American writing.” ―Bruce Feiler, author of Walking the Bible and The Council of Dads
“With intelligence and zesty good humor, Levy tells the story of his sojourn as an ESL teacher in Guiyang… A rollicking, thoroughly refreshing debut.” ―Kirkus
“As in Peter Hessler's River Town…and Peter J. Vernezze's Socrates in Sichuan…, Peace Corps experience is the inspiration for Levy's cheekier and freewheeling but insightful adventure story.” ―Library Journal
More About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
The gold standard for such a book is River Town: Two Years on the Yangtze (P.S.) by Peter Hessler, who has contributed a blurb endorsing this book to the promotional material. (Hessler journeyed into the interior of China with the Peace Corps in the mid-90s; Levy did so a decade later, and while the two volunteers did not serve in the same regionk a side-by-side comparison of the authors' experiences is a useful way to track China's rural development in the intervening years.) It's a tearfully poignant tale of cross-cultural friendship and a chronicling of an ancient society in transition.
As for this book, the rather flip title and especially the kitschy cover illustration had me worried that this would read more like a cheap parody. But one shouldn't judge a book by its cover; it wasn't long before I realized that Kosher Chinese is, both intellectually and emotionally, every bit the equal of River Town. And that's high praise indeed.
The book strikes a slightly goofy tone, especially in the opening chapters, but that's only because the author is faithfully recounting his first impressions of a new culture; and when one is making the acquaintance of a society quite different from one's own, there are many times when one must simply bow to the absurd.Read more ›
All this said, it is a funny and poignant story. Here is a teacher who wants to give his best in a system where his methods and aims are, to put it mildly, out of step with the prevailing idea of pedagogy. And here is a human being intent on establishing genuine relationships while holding on to his own values, if not the precise rules, of his own culture. For such a gentle story, there is a surprising amount of tension.
In the end, the author is able to draw together disparate threads such as basketball, post-modern literature, and rural poverty. It is a strangely cohesive story, a crazy quilt held together by the author's frame of reference and point of view. I enjoyed it and, at a time when China's prominence is poised to eclipse the USA's, I learned from it.
The book proceeds through his amazing experience in China. He specifically lived in a small village, and experienced the generational shift from pure communism to "Socialism with Chinese Characteristics". While the older generation relies on government-provided everything, the younger generation frets about getting jobs, buying houses, and getting mortgages. He discovers a studious people who can learn and memorize every aspect of a subject, but lack the critical thinking ability to question if everything written in their books is true. And while American sensitivites view all Chinese the same, Levy documents the class struggles and ethnic racism that cuts through Chinese society.
All the while, we join Levy as he becomes a part of the people he teaches (he even tries dog meat!). The book is full of great analogies to familiar Western Media (Lost, The Matrix, Star Wars, Left Behind) and humor over how he handled uncomfortable situations (like a student giving herself an English name that referred to a part of the female body).
The book is a quick read, but I learned a surprising amount from such an entertaining book. I highly recommend it to you for learning a bit about China and for enjoying a unique perspective on the country.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I cannot remember the last time I laughed as hard as I am laughing as I read this book. Perhaps it was during the "Lip My Stockings!" scene in _Lost in Translation_. Read morePublished 27 days ago by chungking
Not exactly a book that held my attention for long. It seemed to meander around a lot, but the writing was good. In the end, it didn't really have much of an impact.Published 7 months ago by Roll-On U Bears
An interesting view of everyday life in a "smaller" city in China.Published 9 months ago by Ingrid Meyer
Funny inspiring and full of insights. I enjoyed every page of it. One of my best books about modern China.Published 11 months ago by Bob
Interesting book. Well-written. Gives you a sense of early 21st-century China.Published 12 months ago by SeussFan
found it a bit banal. The writing was amusing at time and there were some interesting looks into the complexity of China, but overall not great.Published 14 months ago by SH
I chose to give this book 5 stars because I enjoyed every single minute of reading it. It's extremely funny, honest, and reflected. Read morePublished 17 months ago by Johanne
This book was well written and provided much detail about an American living in a rural part of China. Read morePublished 17 months ago by jakesmom