AN EXPATRIATE’S JOURNEY TO CHINA AND BEYOND
Subject: Non-fiction - Australians--China--Shanghai--Social life and
RRP: AU$32.99 (paperback)
This literary memoir explores the reasons why “Kristen”, and other expatriates from different parts of the world, choose to live and work in a very different culture to their own and face the challenges of China’s life.
“Bound: An Expatriate’s Journey to China and Beyond,” hereafter referred to as “Bound”, illustrates the experiences of both Chinese and western expatriates and their contributions to life and work in Shanghai. Philosophical and literary themes such as loss, attachment to place, freedom and transformation are highlighted throughout. Photos which depict the daily life and some of the history of Shanghai, are included.
Interviews were carried out with other expatriates (strategists, entrepreneurs, artists, architects and writers) both in Shanghai and Hong Kong during May, 2012, and are reported in narrative form. The memoir differs from other works in the field in that there seems to be an absence of contemporary memoirs about Shanghai — the people, the city, the events that shaped it and what it was like to live there from an expatriate’s perspective. Nor are there memoirs that show how a “turning to the foreign”, leads to irretrievable change and transformation in both artistic and personal development. The “Epilogue” presents the view that the expatriates represent a Chinese version of “tide players” or “movers” and “shakers” who are incrementally moving a contemporary China forward.
“Bound” aims to ensure that the past is not forgotten. It emphasises the importance of the freedom to choose and create one’s life, to take risks and live “outside the square”. These attract opportunities for learning, discovering and becoming. “Bound” highlights that few take risks to live their life differently. Living in a foreign country also attracts many challenges for expatriates, such as “culture shock”. Writing a memoir acts as a cathartic process, which helps to make sense of an expatriate’s experience, and leads to “seeing through new windows”.