‘Trapped Between Cultures’ by John Harrison
‘Trapped Between Cultures’ is a tragic love story. It takes place in the early 1980s in China and the UK. The book follows the author’s affair and then marriage with a Chinese eye doctor, Zhang Dong, at a time when intimate relations with foreigners were frowned on by the authorities.
In the early 1980s, China was still emerging from the aftermath of the Cultural Revolution. In the first part of his book, John Harrison describes Beijing life in detail, and this sets the scene for the raw and yet tragic romance between John and Zhang Dong. Things go wrong, badly wrong, as one might expect when dealing with two people from totally different cultures, particularly at a time when China was only just beginning to show signs of a willingness to try to understand Western values. The same can also be said of the then Western approach to China and Chinese culture. The spice of this tale lies in the juxtaposition of disparate value systems, cultural beliefs and political—not to mention personal—goals.
This book is for anyone interested in cross-cultural communication, especially in the context of China nearly forty years ago. The story in the foreground is of a raw yet tragic love affair which flourished and then foundered in the context of cultures and times now almost forgotten. Historians may also be interested in how ordinary Chinese saw current events then.The book was written up from notes recorded shortly after the events took place, and is a true story.
Published by John Harrison Publishing, 26D Burnside Street, Campbeltown PA28 6JE. 70,000 words. Published in 2018. 70,000 words.
Book Presentation at ‘The Old Bookshop, Campbeltown. 17.8.19
Book Presentation at ‘English language Evenings’, 14.2.19 in Moscow. I gave a lecture about the Cultural revolution in China trying to explain the context within which the book is set. The audience was fantastic and many thanks to the organisers.