Author: Edwin John Dingle
Title: Across China on Foot
Destination: From Shanghai to Burma
Length: ca. 1 and a half years
Type: by ship and by walking
The dude who did it before
The story: In the early 1900s, right before the downfall of the Qing Empire, EJD is a British journalist who comes up with the idea to traverse China on foot. He lands in Shanghai, takes a ship to Chongqing, and starts walking from around that area. His goal: Birma, which at that time was under British hegemony. He gets a couple of “coolies” and a “boy” to help him carry his stuff and facilitate his journey, and so he walks through China.
The book isn’t as much fun as I thought it would be. For one thing, EJD has a way of building sentences that are long. And I mean LONG. They look as if a cracked-out alter ego of Kafka wrote them. Besides that, EJD loves to theorize, and he also loves to complain. Don’t get me wrong, the book is not terrible, and not all of EJD’s insights are fubar.
Edwin John Dingle’s writing is a bit hard to read
But it is just hard to read and hard to digest. Like a loaf of bread that is already as dry as a biscuit: you know what it should have originally tasted like, and you also know that it is probably pretty healthy food. But you just can’t enjoy eating it. If you are into South Western China around 1910, then you might want to read this, because some of the stuff about the minorities was pretty interesting.
For me, it was a 4/10 though.