An irreverent tale of an American Jew serving in the Peace Corps in rural China, which reveals the absurdities, joys, and pathos of a traditional society in flux.
In September of 2005, the Peace Corps sent Michael Levy to teach English in the heart of China's heartland. His hosts in the city of Guiyang found additional uses for him: resident expert on Judaism, romantic adviser, and provincial basketball star, to name a few. His account of overcoming vast cultural differences to befriend his students and fellow teachers is by turns poignant and laugh-out-loud funny.
While reveling in the peculiarities of life in China's interior, the author also discovered that the "other billion" (people living far from the coastal cities covered by the American media) have a complex relationship with both their own traditions and the rapid changes of modernization. Lagging behind in China's economic boom, they experience the darker side of "capitalism with Chinese characteristics", daily facing the schizophrenia of conflicting ideologies.
Kosher Chinese is an illuminating account of the lives of the residents of Guiyang, particularly the young people who will soon control the fate of the world.
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A thoughtful look at contemporary China
This is a thoughtful and beautiful observation of life in contemporary China. Levy travels to the "heart of China" - a provincial city located far from Beijing, Shanghai, Western factories and the economic boom. Michael Levy is a good storyteller and a sensitive observer, who is caring about the people around him while remaining acutely aware of his own biases and Western perspective. All these make the book not only thoughtful and interesting, but also unique.