Saturday, March 24, 2007

Embracing the Dragon: A Woman's Journey Along the Great Wall of China by Polly Greeks

This was an odd sort of book, written by a one-time resident of Dunedin. She meets this fellow, who has returned to New Zealand from his efforts to walk the Great Wall - it would apparently run for something like 56,000 kilometres, if all of the various segments and offshoots were joined together. He had managed a mere 3000 kilometres and nearly died of exhaustion in the attempt. Nonetheless, he is determined (obsesses?) to finish his task. As Polly candidly confesses, she'd never given a stuff about the wall, but was finding life a bit unfulfilling, doesn't appear to have much idea of what to do with herself, and she liked him:
I liked seeing the world through Nathan's eyes. I'd never met anybody so enthusiastic about sunrises and sunsets. the landscapes he walked through at times seemed half-mythical, woven with hidden meanings and spiritual signs. he was highly emotional and superstitious, with a charming arrogance that saw him dream big and do exactly as he pleased, regardless of other people's rules.
Despite noticing a big gulf between them, that this was very much his project rather than their project, and that they'd broken up twice in their first six months she wants to go with him when he returns to the wall.So, yes, there are some cool accounts of her first time in China, the towns they visit and the occasional wonderful experience on the wall, the majority of the book makes it clear just how much this trip was hard work for her, both in the physical task of following the wall and in keeping the relationship going. So badly prepared and spur of the moment is their trip that they damn near freeze to death on their first night on the wall. After a couple of months, it is all over for her. I have to say that I finished this book not knowing very much about Nathan, as every account of him is filtered through the author's eyes, and not liking the author very much.

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Blogger harvestbird said...

I wonder if maybe ninety percent of life's foolish decisions are motivated by boredom above all else?

I have moved my webpages to wordpress at this address. Hope to see you there.

11:05 AM  
Blogger Barry said...

Thanks for that - I've actually visited your new digs, but haven't got round to updating the blogroll.

11:51 PM  

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