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New details announced for An American Bum in China. Read on to learn more.



The creators of South Park have been tweaking the Chinese government over censorship and Lebron James for his criticism of the Houston Rockets’ GM’s tweet in support of Hong Kong. But for all the back and forth talk, nothing can hold a candle to the story of Matthew Evans, a Muscatine, IA native who, spent five years trying to make a life for himself in China, often ending with disastrous results and deportation. Tom Carter captures Evans’ story in the new book “An American Bum in China.”

In recent months the world’s attention has turned to protests in Hong Kong, the largest of which saw an estimated two million citizens taking to the streets. The ground for Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement was first broken, however, when the Umbrella Movement occupied key areas of the city center for an unprecedented eighty days in the autumn of 2014. From the first police tear-gas offensive to the evacuation of the very last protesters from their illegal encampment, only one foreigner – a young homeless American who was present by sheer happenstance following a string of bad luck and misadventures – is known to have witnessed that historic act of civil disobedience from the inside.

Down on his luck and disabled, cancer survivor Matthew Evans had absolutely nothing to lose by fleeing the farmsteads of Muscatine, Iowa, at age twenty-one to pursue his Chinese Dream. With all the makings of a classic folk tale, his curiosity became an epic five-year adventure that would find him homeless, stateless, posing as a professor, imprisoned, deported, and caught in the middle of the 2014 Hong Kong protests. Much like Frank Abagnale Jr.’s page-turning Catch Me If You Can (1980), Joseph Mitchell’s character-driven Joe Gould’s Secret (1965), and even Winston Groom’s original 1986 novel Forrest Gump, An American Bum in China is an intimate character study that is at once empathetic and entertaining.

Maverick China-based writer Tom Carter is the author of CHINA: Portrait of a People (2008), for which he spent two years backpacking across the 33 Chinese provinces, and the controversial China expat anthology Unsavory Elements (2013). Throughthe eccentric Evans,Carter unironically makes an argument for the Chinese Dream and the allure of the Middle Kingdom as a land of possibility by emphasizing the failurefor many of the AmericanDream. Defiantly published in Taiwan by indie East Asia specialist Camphor Press, An American Bum in Chinashowcases its folksyMark Twain-style storytelling in an old-fashioned chapbook design, illustrated with traditional catchpenny prints by artist John Dobson.
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