BOOKS: Lost on Planet China

lost on planet china.jpgPollutionand imaginative foods are the key impressions which writer Maarten Troost takesaway from his travels in China, in “Lost on Planet China.”

I know him from his “The Sex Lives of Cannibals: Adrift in the EquatorialPacific“, so his exaggeration for comic effect is not unexpected, but hisobservations on the air quality in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhouare more stomach-turning than his experiences eating live seafood and variousnovel animal parts.

Petchemtravellers to Chinawill recognise his descriptions of traffic chaos in the city streets and thecomparative slickness of airports and metro stations. Unlike Troost’s previousbooks, however, the overall tone is not one of benign even affectionateobservation, but one of distaste. The over-riding message is that thecataclysmic level of pollution in China is bringing the rest of theworld closer to environmental disaster.

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