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Chapter 6: I remember lying in bed in the hospital wondering whether my life was old, new, or an illusion. There is a resemblance of my daydream to Zhuang-zi’s famous dream of being a butterfly. In his dream Zhuang-zi enjoyed being a butterfly so much he forgot he was a man. When he woke, the dream startled him because if a man can be convinced he is a butterfly perhaps a butterfly can be convinced he is a man. My present world may not exist in the dream of an insect but may in a very real sense exist in Dragon Full Glory’s dream and as such meekly fade into oblivion if he wakes again.

Chapter 11: Like Shang Ying, the contrast of skin color with hair and eye color is appealing. To me, she is more classically Chinese than the Piano Bar’s premier sān péi girl, who in being markedly taller and fuller is more of a westerner’s oriental dream...she is as elegant as only a healthy, wealthy, beautiful, and intelligent young woman can be.

Chapter 16: Some Daoists believe beings have two “souls,” one that disintegrates with the corpse and one that enters a higher realm to apotheosize or await rebirth. Alone, the Abbot carried Master Liu’s body to Xishan for cremation yesterday. This morning we buried the ashes not far from the little enlightened pine. Since the tree looks the same as last year, not at all corrupt, perhaps its transitory soul is still about and will help the Master’s permanent soul on its journey.

  1  Aiya!

  2  This Life...Could Be Anything

  3   Amnesia Judgments

  4   They’ve Caught A Big Nose!

  5   Sometimes Unlucky is Lucky

  6   Little Amorous Soldier

  7   It Was Easier At The Time

  8   In A Small Village Somewhere

  9   Ain’t Communism Grand?

10   How Difficult Can It Be?

11   Why Do You Want To Be Chinese?

12   Playing The Zither To A Cow

13   Same Muscles As A Monkey

14   Love With Chinese Characteristics

15 The World Below The Mountain Tops

16   The Blended Elixir

17   Dào Dĭ Of The Other Sense

List of Characters


Journey Into A Far Country is a novel of love and prejudice in modern China. Thomas, a long-time foreign resident, discovers China through random travels, “living vignettes” that are circumscribed life experiences with no relation to the rest of his life until he is attacked on an isolated mountain in Sichuan Province.  The consequences of the assault evolve as Thomas tries to defeat a vengeful policeman, be accepted into a Chinese family, and lay his Chinese alter ego, Lóng Măn Róng (Dragon Full Glory), to rest.  In successive roles as patient, prisoner, monk, farmer, bouncer, and gangster, Thomas encounters the dark side of modern Chinese society and himself.  He also finds bravery, love, and wisdom within both, and learns about Chinese thinking, Daoism, and martial arts.  

Chapter 13: Every martial artist hates guns for the obvious reason they can usually nullify any amount of martial skill, but also for the hardly less obvious reason the weapon’s frustrating superiority is commonly in the hands of ethical degenerates and morons. The gun user is the antithesis of the chivalrous fighter of old because pulling a trigger requires no gōngfu, no mental training, no code of conduct, and no courage; nothing more than the same muscles as a monkey.

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