BOOK REVIEWS

On a Chinese Screen (Classic Reprint) Reviews

UPDATE TIME: 2017-10-24 
Review Score: 4 out of 5 star From 8 user ratings
ISBN:1440035113
LANGUAGE:English

" A collection of vignettes about China around 1915. Note to other readers, the author writes about a number of people who we would clearly label "bigots" today. This book gives a glimpse into the personalities that made of the foreign delegation in China. " said.

" Absolutamente maravilhoso! Há livros cuja leitura se retarda porque não queremos que acabem, este é um deles e, mesmo assim, acho que o vou guardar ainda na mesa de cabeceira para voltar a ele de vez em quando. Assombrosa descrição de paisagens, de ambientes e de pessoas. Imperdível. " said.

" An interesting book for anyone who is interested in China, especially a China that no longer exists. This is not a book with a story line. Rather it is a series of vignettes of Maugham's observations covering all aspects of life. Maugham was an astute observer. " said.

" In 1920, Maugham travelled across China and kept a diary to record his impressions from this visit. 'On a Chinese Screen' is a compilation of these scribblings and notes. While it fails to qualify as 'Travel Writing', the book nevertheless provides a glimpse into life in China in the years preceding the Revolution. " said.

" This collection of impressions is described as "not a book, but material for a book." This is basically a collection of very short prose sketches written by Maugham as he traveled the Yangtze River in 1919 and 1920. As such, it doesn't leave a lasting impression but it was enjoyable. He mainly describes the career expats he encounters. " said.

" This is a collection of ex-pat profiles, mostly of Brits in China, who range from diplomats to sailors to missionaries. Maugham is a very detailed writer of character description. It was written in 1922, but many of the same types of ex-pats are alive and well in China today. Would make an interesting film adaptation. " said.

"An unusual collection of short stories or rather frangments of a novel as half of them are written with the narrator in first person mode and the other half has the narrator referring to "you" in a pseudo second person fashion ("you see the endless rice fields", "the city makes your head swim", etc.).

Personally, I would have liked a Conradian style opening scene whereby our narrator is at home in England telling his stories of the China of old to a prospective first-time traveller abroad gently warning of the power and influence of prolonged foreign cultures on ones sensibilities.

'The Consul' and 'The Philosopher' were my favourites for their wry humour of the title characters outlooks on life.
" said.

"I did not enjoy this book at all. Part of it was my fault. I missed that it was a criticism of foreigners that did not adapt to Chinese culture and thought it will be a people watching account of people that the author met during his journeys.

Even after I realized, although it was slightly easier knowing the author shared my criticism, it was still difficult to read.

Most of the stories have a different style so you have to get used to it and to the old language seeing as it was written in the 1920s.

I kept reading to see if there were some things said about the culture then and there were but not so much. I disliked the fact that there were a lot of terms we would call racist nowadays.

If you have never read W S Maugham before, do not start with this book for sure!
" said.

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