When Things Get Dark

When Things Get Dark

A Mongolian Winter's Tale

Book - 2010 | 1st ed
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At 23, Matt Davis moved to a remote Mongolian town to teach English. What he found when he arrived was a townand a countryundergoing wholesale change from a traditional, countryside existence to a more urban, modern identity. When Things Get Dark documents these changes through the Mongolians Matt meets, but also focuses on the author's downward spiral into alcohol abuse and violence--a scenario he saw played out by many of the Mongolian men around him. Matt's self-destruction culminates in a drunken fight with three men that forces him to a hospital to have his kidneys X-rayed. He hits bottom in that cold hospital room, his body naked and shivering, a bloodied Mongolian man staring at him from an open door, the irrational thought in his head that maybe he is going to die there. His personal struggles are balanced with insightful descriptions of customs and interactions, and interlaced with essays on Mongolian history and culture that make for a fascinating glimpse of a mysterious place and people. Documents the author's three-year teaching experiences in a remote Mongolian community, describing his battles with alcoholism and witness to the town's transformation from country life to sometimes violent urban modernity.
Publisher: New York : St. Martin's Press, 2010
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780312607739
Call Number: 951.73 D2632w 2010
Characteristics: x, 306 pages, 8 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations (chiefly color), map ; 22 cm


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Sep 10, 2010

Davis's writing is quite competent and very readable, and I think that is the main reason I got to the end of it. The problem I had reading it was more of a problem with his experience in Mongolia itself. Nothing exceptionally profound happens there; it's just people living their lives, and their lives appear to be lived in the bottom of a bottle of vodka. It's difficult to get a sense of the beauty of the place through his writings. I did enjoy reading about the history of Mongolia within the context of his travels.


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