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Summary

J. Maarten Troost charmed listeners with his humorous tales of wandering the remote islands of the South Pacific in The Sex Lives of Cannibals and Getting Stoned with Savages. When the travel bug bit again, he took on the world's most populous and intriguing nation.

As Troost relates his gonzo adventure - dodging deadly drivers in Shanghai, eating yak in Tibet, deciphering restaurant menus (offering local favorites such as cattle penis with garlic), and visiting with Chairman Mao (still dead) - he reveals a vast, complex country on the brink of transformation that will soon shape the way we all work, live, and think.

This insightful, hilarious narrative brings China to life as you've never seen it before.

©2008 J. Maarten Troost (P)2008 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

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What listeners say about Lost on Planet China

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

really enjoyed this book - excellent!

This book has it all as far as I am concerned! It is interesting, informative, funny and thoughtful - what more could you ask for! It's about the authors travels through modern China and his observations of everyday life for the average Chinese person, from what they eat, work, history, etc - it's not as boring as I have made it sound! I would highly recommend it - I only wish Audible had more of his books on here - I would get them in a flash! Please read it - you will love it - honest!

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

China at it’s best

Brilliantly narrated, this is the best journey through China I have yet to find. From the hilarious to the frightening, it is a fantastic listen.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Brilliant book

Both highly entertaining and very informative, the author doesn’t sugar coat anything. Excellent narration although it is a tiny bit off-putting to have the narrator of Anne Rice’s Dracula novels telling travel stories!

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    5 out of 5 stars

very entertaining

excellent humorous tale well narrated. An alternative informative naritive about the real China, eye opener

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    5 out of 5 stars

amazing !!! funny !! well narrated and very clever!

i first listened to this book when i was homesick in Japan back in 2016, and since then I just can’t get enough of it. I keep coming back and relistening to this! it’s incredibly funny, clever, and interestingly educating aswell! I can’t recommend this book enough, I listen to it every night to help me get to sleep, and find that you can just jump in at any time. This book is my all time favourite, and I will goto my grave recommending it!
10000/10

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    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent Story

I really enjoyed this book, very well written and narrated! I have travelled extensively throughout China (including Tibet) and this book give a true and funny account of what it is like! I recommend! 😎

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Abigail
  • 25-02-09

I love Troost but...

I adore this author. Never in a million years would I have thought I'd be a fan of the travel genre. What I love about his books is he his ability to walk the line between irreverence and respect for other ways of life. He is not afraid to state an opinion or ignore PC decorum but also depicts through his story a greater understanding and depth of the culture in which hes immersed. He has a charming way of describing the awkward and often amusing confusion that happens when unfamiliar cultures meet. He also interweaves history without seeming boring.
So needless to say I could not wait to get my hands on this book, or er my ipod. I have studied China in school for many years and have friends who live there or have lived there.
I was disappointed. Maybe it is because he did not live in this area like in his previous books but the book has little continuity and he fails to grasp so much of Chinese culture. I was also horrified by his depiction of Chinese history. He generalizes such a great deal of the history in a biased and inaccurate manner. Whether it is their ancient history or current times, Troost just did not get the Chinese. I don't think he liked China much at all. There is a falseness about his writing that becomes even more obvious when his journey takes him to Tibet, which he obviously did like and relate to, and his writing all at once seems more easy and honest. He is not blatently hostile. He generally tries to be fair but does not seem to gather the empathy that is evident in his earlier books. This is evident in the title, to him China is another planet and he does say this. I don't feel his heart was in this book.
That being said, it is worth a listen. Just don't take his interpretation of history too literally, especially the ancient. The book is not fluid and does not seem as put together or complete as his previous novels. This writing is more what I'd expect from a professional blog than a book. I hope the next one is better.

18 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • L
  • 29-08-08

Just like being there

This book brought me right back to my travels in China. The smells, the sights, the chaos. He describes it perfectly, with wit and humor. I haven't read a more accurate portrayal.

15 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Dan
  • 25-09-09

Funny but harsh with some underlying truth.

This book is different in scope than Troost's previous books but is similarly sharp and witty. It is at times harsh and unflattering to China but reveals at least as many shortcomings about the author. I would not depend upon Troost for accurate historical or demographic details but he does provide an entertaining perspective on the chaos of modern China as seen by a (far) outsider. For a more balanced view from a China insider I would recommend "China Road". It also is not very flattering to China at times but is not as "over the top" as Troost.

12 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Angie
  • 08-03-09

Great listening!

What the author observed about China and its people is true. I've observed the good, the bad and the ugly behavior first hand but it's true on all the races. I heard in Europe, flatulence is common in public areas; heard and smelled? The author just echoed what most foreigners observed from their dealings with the Chinese people in China or abroad.
I like all kinds of races. I still admire the Chinese people. It's just a different culture.
The book is funny and hilariously narrated.
Love it.
Annie of Palo Alto, CA

12 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Devri
  • 20-07-08

A clever, witty narrative

This is a wonderful travelogue! Mr. Troost writes of many issues in modern China - pollution, the explosion of "capitalism", chinese tourism, censorship - and does so with clever and witty prose. The narration is excellent. I highly recommend this book.

9 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Arna
  • 19-06-09

doesn't hold together

I just can't figure out why he wrote this book. He says something about how he is pondering moving his young family to China because its such an important place, and he goes to check it out. That makes no sense, especially from someone who wanted only to leave civilization in his previous books. I kept thinking, maybe the government paid him to go write a really unflattering book about how messed up China is. The result of reading this book is that I sure don't want to go to China. He didn't have much good to say. The author is funny and the book is pretty listenable. It just had this overlying aura of implausibility. I highly recommend his 2 earlier books. They seem honest and are hilarious. This one...not so much.

8 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Conrad Chang
  • 31-10-08

Bad travelogue

I was hoping for a interesting account of his travel in China, but what I got was 10 hours of China bashing. Whether it is true or not, 10 hours of constant description of China's problems is just not fun reading as a travelogue.

7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Steve
  • 16-10-09

Mostly enjoyable and informative

I learned much from the author's adventures. Many smiles. The narrator is great. There's a lot of W. Bush hating, which will quickly date the book. I've already pretty much forgotten him myself. And how many times do we need to be told that the air is horrible and the Chinese spit all over everything?

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • aharnisch
  • 20-02-11

Single Best Travel Book on China

Over the last ten years I have spent a lot of time in China. Listening to this book brought back memories of my first few trips and my impressions of Chinese people and culture. As a "westerner" I can tell you that this is by far the most accurate description of travel in China. As I tell my friends, travel in China is always an adventure and you have to approach it that way.

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • bill doyle
  • 08-05-14

Simon Vance; redeemer of one long whinge?

China is another country - they do things differently there.

I suspect strongly that Simon Vance's narration is all that saves this book from utter unbearability - his soothing, very British intonations smoothing-over and camouflaging a tale that should, in justice, probably be delivered in a nasal, wheedling, north-American whine.

The Chinese, you see, in Troost's eyes, simply cannot do anything right.

His account is in the gonzo comic style, and might almost be compared to Bill Bryson, except that Troost has little interest in the locals' opinions. After all, he has so many of his own to give us.

Make no mistake - this is an entertaining account, and doubtlessly, of course, much of his criticism is justified, particularly of the regime. But it's striking how his cynicism - and, I'll add, his skepticism - switches off the moment he crosses the 'border' into Tibet.

Probably one to digest before traveling there yourself for the first time, on a forewarned is forearmed basis; hell, after all, it's unlikely your own experience would be worse!

4 people found this helpful