China is emerging as the next superpower and increasingly dominates the world stage, but the country and its people remain a mystery to us in the West. In Dreaming in Chinese Harvard linguist and Shanghai resident Deborah Fallows offers a brilliant introduction to China's culture and landscape.
Each of the book's 15 chapters takes a particular linguistic or cultural conundrum and uses it as a clue to unlock aspects of Chinese life that might to outsiders seem bizarre. Incorporating many of the author's own experiences - from the mundane, like riding city buses, to the positively infuriating, such as trying to order a take-away without a decent working knowledge of Mandarin's 'tone-system' - this is a book to appeal to just about anyone who has China on their mind, be they first-time tourists, seasoned business people, or even the idly curious.
Accessible, original and often very funny, Dreaming in Chinese will help you discover this extraordinary nation for yourself.
Deborah Fallows has lived and travelled in China for four years, studying the language and applying it to survive in daily life. She has a PhD in Linguistics from Harvard, and is author of A Mother's Work. She and her husband, writer James Fallows, have two sons.