Barrett, Andrea The Middle Kingdom

ISBN 13: 9780007102884

The Middle Kingdom

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9780007102884: The Middle Kingdom

A lyrical, moving novel of the choices and confusions that face a married woman whose understanding of herself explodes on first contact with the energies of China and a Chinaman.

Grace Hoffmeier is never quite sure where to invest her energies: in her dying marriage to star scientist Walter or in the possible affairs that flare so startlingly before her like fireworks; in her work or in her home; in things or in people; in the past or in the future.

On an eye-opening trip to a China that has ripped itself apart, yet again, at its very heart in Tiananmen Square, Grace finds – with guidance from unexpected quarters – that what you can choose between is not always your choice to make. The real China soon crackles into being before Grace; its fire and light illuminate for her paths old and new, and a new life in a new kingdom.

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Review:

Andrea Barrett is best known for her novel The Voyage of The Narwhal and a collection of short stories, Ship Fever. In both these books scientific discovery, history and the natural world are wonderful backdrops to intimate, personal dramas. The Middle Kingdom is an earlier work but the same keen sense of curiosity about life and the way to live it glimmers on the page.

The novel opens in the recent past, in Tiananmen Square. There is smoke, gunfire and confusion, a sense of history being destroyed and re-made into something else. In the midst of this historical shattering, is a character study of an American woman teaching natural history in a Chinese laboratory. Grace Hoffmeier's story starts off "stunted and stilted, common and sad", but by the end of the novel she has found the "middle way--not too much looking back. Not too much dreaming ahead".

Grace's is an American tale, one of stifling family conflicts; and two bad marriages that look like escape routes, but are just another way of being trapped. Grace overeats to compensate for all her mistakes, to swaddle her desires, to stop herself thinking: "that was how I existed then: push, shut, close, seal, deny, forget". But on a trip to China, with her husband Walter, a meeting at a scientific conference forces her to reassesses her past and take control of her future. Andrea Barrett's prose is lyrical and sure, blending fact with fiction in an elegant meditation on personal freedom and political repression. Grace's story is shadowed by real events in China, giving her voyage of discovery an extraordinary vividness and subtlety. Barrett is unsentimental about country and person and the novel is all the more engaging for of it. --Eithne Farry

Review:

‘An exhilarating book…wonderful and generous insights…Ms Barrett has captured a truly authentic Beijing.’ Amy Tan

‘With “The Middle Kingdom”, Andrea Barrett further consolidates her position as one of our most thoughtful chroniclers of contemporary life…“The Middle Kingdom” is another impressive milestone in what promises to be a long and fruitful literary journey by an accomplished American author.’ Cleveland Plain Dealer

‘Andrea Barrett does not flinch from large subjects, yet her uncanny investigations into human curiosity are sensual and soul-enhancing, and always underlit by splendid intelligence.’ Howard Norman, author of ‘The Bird Artist’

‘Her work stands out for its intelligence…the overall effect is quietly dazzling.’ New York Times

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Barrett, Andrea
Published by HarperCollins Publishers, United Kingdom (2001)
ISBN 10: 0007102887 ISBN 13: 9780007102884
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Book Description HarperCollins Publishers, United Kingdom, 2001. Paperback. Book Condition: New. 197 x 130 mm. Language: English . Brand New Book. A lyrical, moving novel of the choices and confusions that face a married woman whose understanding of herself explodes on first contact with the energies of China and a Chinaman. Grace Hoffmeier is never quite sure where to invest her energies: in her dying marriage to star scientist Walter or in the possible affairs that flare so startlingly before her like fireworks; in her work or in her home; in things or in people; in the past or in the future. On an eye-opening trip to a China that has ripped itself apart, yet again, at its very heart in Tiananmen Square, Grace finds - with guidance from unexpected quarters - that what you can choose between is not always your choice to make. The real China soon crackles into being before Grace; its fire and light illuminate for her paths old and new, and a new life in a new kingdom. Bookseller Inventory # AA89780007102884

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Barrett, Andrea
Published by HarperCollins Publishers, United Kingdom (2001)
ISBN 10: 0007102887 ISBN 13: 9780007102884
New Paperback Quantity Available: 10
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Book Description HarperCollins Publishers, United Kingdom, 2001. Paperback. Book Condition: New. 197 x 130 mm. Language: English . Brand New Book. A lyrical, moving novel of the choices and confusions that face a married woman whose understanding of herself explodes on first contact with the energies of China and a Chinaman. Grace Hoffmeier is never quite sure where to invest her energies: in her dying marriage to star scientist Walter or in the possible affairs that flare so startlingly before her like fireworks; in her work or in her home; in things or in people; in the past or in the future. On an eye-opening trip to a China that has ripped itself apart, yet again, at its very heart in Tiananmen Square, Grace finds - with guidance from unexpected quarters - that what you can choose between is not always your choice to make. The real China soon crackles into being before Grace; its fire and light illuminate for her paths old and new, and a new life in a new kingdom. Bookseller Inventory # AA89780007102884

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Book Description 2001. Paperback. Book Condition: New. 130mm x 197mm x 194mm. Paperback. A lyrical, moving novel of the choices and confusions that face a married woman whose understanding of herself explodes on first contact with the energies of China and a Chinaman. Grace Ho.Shipping may be from multiple locations in the US or from the UK, depending on stock availability. 288 pages. 0.210. Bookseller Inventory # 9780007102884

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Barrett, Andrea
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Book Description Flamingo, 2001. Paperback. Book Condition: Brand New. 288 pages. In Stock. This item is printed on demand. Bookseller Inventory # __0007102887

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Book Description HarperCollins Publishers, 2001. PAP. Book Condition: New. New Book. Shipped from UK in 4 to 14 days. Established seller since 2000. Bookseller Inventory # FC-9780007102884

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Barrett, Andrea
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Book Description Flamingo, 2001. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # 1207H488621

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Book Description HARPER COLLINS, 2001. Paperback. Book Condition: NEW. 9780007102884 This listing is a new book, a title currently in-print which we order directly and immediately from the publisher. Bookseller Inventory # HTANDREE0989550

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Book Description Flamingo, 2001. Paperback. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # 0007102887

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Book Description 2001. Paperback. Book Condition: New. 130mm x 197mm x 194mm. Paperback. A lyrical, moving novel of the choices and confusions that face a married woman whose understanding of herself explodes on first contact with the energies of China and a China.Shipping may be from our Sydney, NSW warehouse or from our UK or US warehouse, depending on stock availability. 288 pages. 0.210. Bookseller Inventory # 9780007102884

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