“It’s impossible to be neutral about China,” Rob Gifford writes. “Some foreigners hate it from the moment they set foot here. Others love it so much they put down roots and never go home.” But it may be getting harder to love China. Gifford, an NPR correspondent stationed there for six years, has tried—with mixed success—to be objective about the country, “to keep love and hate in balance.”
Fuchsia Dunlop arrives at a similarly difficult balance in her memoir of 16 years of traveling, living and eating in China. Her relationship with the country begins as a love affair but ends in disillusionment, tempered by an enduring connection to the place and affection for many Chinese friends.