- Explore more great deals on thousands of titles in our Deals in Books store.
To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.
Undress Me in the Temple of Heaven Paperback – Bargain Price, February 8, 2010
|New from||Used from|
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
Special Offers and Product Promotions
"[A] standout travel memoir...Gilman's descriptions of their trials and tribulations crackle with wit." (Booklist )
"Youthfully upbeat, Gilman delivers an entertaining memoir...offering the full wallop of disorienting, in-the-moment, transformative travel adventures." (Publishers Weekly )
"[An] ambitious and intimate coming-of-age memoir." (Kirkus )
"With her trademark intelligent, irreverent voice Gilman takes us on a journey that feels terrifyingly real, immediate and life-threatening. The woman is no less than a godsend to a reading world that has become too used to lies, half-truth and spin." (Alexandra Fuller )
Top Customer Reviews
Undress Me in the Temple of Heaven starts off very slowly. If you're not paying close attention to what's going on, as I was not, the book seems like yet another "clueless recent college graduate with backpack" travel journal. Even the book's title is somewhat misleading; it made me expect a cobbled together collection of exaggerated, drunken adventures in developing countries.
I was wrong, very wrong.
Small, seemingly insignificant, things begin happening to Gilman and her traveling partner. As patterns emerge, the story begins to take on threatening, even malevolent, overtones and the pace quickens. What began as two innocent and idealistic girls taking an around-the-world trip turns into an uncontrolled descent into chaos, fear, and personal destruction.
Sure, this all sounds like a plot for a bad Roger Corman horror movie--especially that last bit!--but Gilman manages to make everything unfold in a mesmerizing yet believable manner. She writes in an engaging, flowing style that truly brings the story to life. Gilman's experience as a journalist has given her a talent for capturing key details of people and places, so that even the parts of the book that may have been embellished don't feel out of place or totally implausible.
The story also benefits from twenty years of hindsight. Gilman occasionally breaks away from the main narrative to comment on the things she thought and did at the time of the story, when she was twenty-one.Read more ›
Gilman and her pseudonymous companion, Claire, are arm's-length friends when they embark on the adventure of a lifetime, inspired by the map on an IHOP place mat. At some point in our lives, each of has probably pursued a brash dream with someone we hardly knew, but in Gilman and Claire's case, the consequences surpass anything they and their apprehensive families could have imagined. Beyond their naivete and the sheer foreignness of the environment the two young women plunge into, at 21, Gilman increasingly finds herself forced to deal with her friend's rapid descent into psychosis (which, she points out in the afterword, may have been the product of antimalarial medication). Along the way, she encounters some unforgettable characters: a generous, English-speaking Chinese man who befriends them in the hope that they will help him defect; a clueless, lumbering German misfit; a free-spirited American mother and her two rambunctious sons; a Chinese waitress who prepares Western food for homesick backpackers; a German hunk whose kindness matches his considerable romantic appeal; and a Canadian nurse who rallies to her aid at her time of greatest need.
As compelling as the people she meets is her take on the country itself. The picture she paints of 1980s post-Kissinger China is rich and textured, frequently rendered with delicious irony and dark humor. The bravado with which she handles various encounters with Chinese culture, cuisine and government authorities is both unnerving and astonishing.Read more ›
The author's friend at first seems a bit kooky but gradually becomes totally separated from reality. In other words, she loses her mind and becomes a danger to herself and others. The goal then becomes how to get her friend back to United States before anything too terrible can happen to her.
Although this sounds grim and depressing, Gilman has written it in the style of Our Hearts Were Young and Gay. It is at times hysterically funny, and I often read passages out loud so my partner could understand why I was laughing.
This is a wonderful book that proves that most people are decent and sweet. I can absolutely see it being made into a film.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Amateurishly written memoir of an adventure in China after the country just reopened their borders by a narrow-minded college kid. Read morePublished 6 days ago by Derek
Some parts of this book (and the two main protagonists within) I loathed truly. All in all though I really did laugh and cry in equal measure! Read morePublished 9 days ago by Rebecca
Credibility Problems. If it's true, it's based on more coincidences and strange incidents than I can believe. Read morePublished 18 days ago by unterelsbach
It was a really fast read. I have been to China more recently and it was interesting to see how it was before. It definitely showed how spoiled we in America are. Read morePublished 18 days ago by Joyce Cooper
I have been to China on business over 50 times in the last 30 years. This book was a vivid reminder of how it use to be. Read morePublished 1 month ago by elayted
I loved this book. I was always excited for my "reading" time. Great writing. Interesting story and history.Published 1 month ago by Pamela Cohen
I enjoyed this life story. The author is very open. It reads like a true life experience! Made me want to go back to China for another and updated visit!Published 1 month ago by Sar
Very interesting , thoughtful exciting, a book you must read! Jane Gillman a very prolific author,hopefully she continues this fabulous road to more successes!Published 1 month ago by beverly parsly