on 25 August 2008
I picked up this book in a second-hand bookshop knowing nothing about the writer, my choice based simply on my having grown up in China before the last war, and my curiosity about the period in which I lived.
I could not put the book down; not only is it beautifully written and historically fascinating given the lack of knowledge of la Chîne profonde in the 30s, but his wit and humour is irresistible. I frequently laughed out loud, and hugged myself with glee at his deadpan comments on his fellow travellers. I recommend it highly
"One's Company" by Peter Fleming is the story of his travels in Russia, Manchuria, and China in 1933 where he went as a special correspondent for The Times.
Beautifully written, the account is full of stories of people and places, and he tells of the funny side of the unforeseen accidents which can trouble the traeller, often things which cannot have been very amusing at the time but which are very funny in retrospect as things which happened to someone else many years ago and far away.
on 16 October 2011
I love the self-deprecating style of this book. To attempt a journey into central China at that time, speaking not a word of Chinese, in the middle of a war over Manchuoko is an amazing feat, and he tells it as if it's a perfectly normal thing to do. He is also very eloquent in a lovely old-fashioned way; and paints a very good picture of the country, it's people at the time. Very enjoyable, so I bought another of Fleming's books.