Everybody wants to think they’re the only foreigner living in China.
Up to the Mountains and Down to the Countryside tells the story of two American English teachers in rural China. Daniel, a young college graduate, is enjoying his seemingly idyllic life in the small town of Ningyuan when Thomas, an entitled deadbeat content to pass the rest of his days in Asia skating by on the fact that he’s white, arrives at his high school. The two men take an instant dislike to each other, and in the ensuing battle of wills tensions build to a showdown, with one of their more zealous female students caught in the middle.
Author Quincy Carroll draws on his own years as a teacher in Hunan province to present a realistic portrait of the lives of foreigners outside of China’s more Westernized cities. The novel has been acclaimed for its beautiful prose and thought-provoking examination of the expatriate experience, and was a Kirkus Reviews Indie Book of the Month for January 2016.
Up to the Mountains and Down to the Countryside questions what we take and what we leave behind when we move abroad, our motivations – real and imagined – and how living overseas, away from everything we know, changes us. This is a novel that stays with you long after you finish reading it.
“A riveting story of cultures and generations colliding on a backwater Chinese campus, evoking the stillness and suspense of Paul Bowles and Graham Greene.” ― Michael Meyer, author of In Manchuria and The Last Days of Old Beijing
“A poignant, elegant debut that superbly explores cynicism and idealism but doesn’t fall into either.” ― Asian Review of Books