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Portebello Books
Times Online Review

"A unique memoir. At once naive, tough, stark and sentimental, Tao recounts an eight-month rite of passage in which the reader sees, through its author's still innocent eyes, A japanese art student entering an adolescent dream of love on the road... This book will take its place among the annals of China's changing face."

Colin Thubron

"A neat little book... Aya Goda sketches the landscapes and cultures with a deft hand, and she too finds "China" inadequate to comprehend them all."


"As well as poetic descriptions of the land, Goda gives an insight into recent history from both an outsider's and an insider's view. More than just a travel book, Tao works on many levels; thubj The White Masai meets On The Road."

Real Travel

"Good travel books, like travel itself, open the door to new worlds. In the strongest works the author's vision becomes our own, especially if his or her subject is a distant destination. For most of us, northern Russia will forever be defined by Colin Thubron's In Siberia. Antarctica is Sara Wheeler's Terra Incognita. No matter how many times I visit India, Delhi will always be for be William Dalrymple's City of Jinns. Now, an arresting book is about to take hold of our collective vision of rural China. The book brings the reader new insights into Han racism, sky burials and the wholesale eradication of Tibetan rights and culture since the Cultural Revolution. Most movingly, Tao is a spare, heartfelt work of love that captures the thrill of a young woman discovering the world in all its beauty and troubles, from everyday pleasures (tripe soup, Wanzi tea, love-making beside a mountain lake to haunting terrors. A dozen film producers would die to adapt this book into an irresistible road movie, if only Beijing would permit filming in Tibet and China."

Rory MacLean, Guardian

"A riveting narrative of political repression and intellectual rebellion in China at the time of the Tiananmen massacre in 1989... Goda's style is captivating in its matter-of-fact tone... The narrative is strikingly self-effacing, foregrounding the charismatic personality of Yong."

Mslexia Magazine

"I have to admit that I wasn't really looking forward to reading this book which was given to me as a gift. Although I waited for the perfect time to read it, it isn't my usual taste. We need that sometimes, though. When I belonged to a book club, I read a lot of things that I really enjoyed but otherwise never would have picked up at a bookstore. When I procrastinated long enough, and had space to read it thoughtfully, I finally began. I have to say, honestly, that after about 50 pages I was hooked enough to be unable to put it down for long. That rarely happens. I can count the books that have done that to me... Life of Pi, Poisonwood Bible, Kite Runner... but I had no such expectation from this book and was thoroughly delighted..." Read More

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