Vujicic praises the people of Hangzhou as polite and helpful but avoids Orientalist tropes with anecdotes showing the humanity of those she interacts with, including their frustration at times, like the server at the restaurant who she mistakenly asks, in her “best Chinese,” for e-mail rather than soy sauce. She also relates legends and history of Hangzhou, making clear that this place isn’t simply physically lovely and abundant in great food but also is home to rich, fascinating traditions which, at times, foreigners can participate in, such as ringing the bell at the temple of wealth.
In addition to all Vujicic’s vivid descriptions of landscape and people, her food descriptions and pictures make a reader’s mouth water (and, at times, as when she describes stinky tofu, inspire distaste). From cuisine to environment to culture, it is obvious before she says it that she felt she “simply fit in China like a Lego brick.” A western reader contemplating exploring Hangzhou will find Vujicic’s brief guide to the city and its attractions invigorating and inspiring. And if Western travelers are not contemplating exploring Hangzhou, they will after reading this book.
Takeaway: One woman’s story of how she fell in love with Hangzhou—and why readers might, too.
Great for fans of: John Rydzewski’s China Diaries & Other Tales From the Road, Monique Van Dijk’s Hangzhou.
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: B