Undress Me in the Temple of Heaven

By Susan Jane Gilman (Trade Paperback, 2010)
They were young, brilliant, and bold. They set out to conquer the world. But the world had other plans for them.

Bestselling author Susan Jane Gilman's new memoir is a hilarious and harrowing journey, a modern heart of darkness filled with Communist operatives, backpackers, and pancakes.

In 1986, fresh out of college, Gilman and her friend Claire yearned to do something daring and original that did not involve getting a job. Inspired by a place mat at the International House of Pancakes, they decided to embark on an ambitious trip around the globe, starting in the People's Republic of China. At that point, China had been open to independent travelers for roughly ten minutes.

Armed only with the collected works of Nietzsche, an astrological love guide, and an arsenal of bravado, the two friends plunged into the dusty streets of Shanghai. Unsurprisingly, they quickly found themselves in over their heads. As they ventured off the map deep into Chinese territory, they were stripped of everything familiar and forced to confront their limitations amid culture shock and government surveillance. What began as a journey full of humor, eroticism, and enlightenment grew increasingly sinister-becoming a real-life international thriller that transformed them forever.

Undress Me in the Temple of Heaven is a flat-out page-turner, an astonishing true story of hubris and redemption told with Gilman's trademark compassion, lyricism, and wit.
  • Grand Central Publishing
    • Format: Trade Paperback

    • Price: $15.99 US/$19.49 CAN

    • ISBN-13: 9780446696937

    • On Sale Date: 02/08/2010

    • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

    • Imprint: Grand Central Publishing

    Formats Available: Trade Paperback, Audiobook, Electronic Book

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They were young, brilliant, and bold. They set out to conquer the world. But the world had other plans for them.

Bestselling author Susan Jane Gilman's new memoir is a hilarious and harrowing journey, a modern heart of darkness filled with Communist operatives, backpackers, and pancakes.

In 1986, fresh out of college, Gilman and her friend Claire yearned to do something daring and original that did not involve getting a job. Inspired by a place mat at the International House of Pancakes, they decided to embark on an ambitious trip around the globe, starting in the People's Republic of China. At that point, China had been open to independent travelers for roughly ten minutes.

Armed only with the collected works of Nietzsche, an astrological love guide, and an arsenal of bravado, the two friends plunged into the dusty streets of Shanghai. Unsurprisingly, they quickly found themselves in over their heads. As they ventured off the map deep into Chinese territory, they were stripped of everything familiar and forced to confront their limitations amid culture shock and government surveillance. What began as a journey full of humor, eroticism, and enlightenment grew increasingly sinister-becoming a real-life international thriller that transformed them forever.

Undress Me in the Temple of Heaven is a flat-out page-turner, an astonishing true story of hubris and redemption told with Gilman's trademark compassion, lyricism, and wit.

Susan Jane Gilman is the author of Hypocrite in a Pouffy White Dressand Kiss My Tiara. She has an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Michigan, and has written commentary for The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, and Ms. magazine, among others. Her fiction and essays have received several literary awards. Though she lives in Geneva, Switzerland, she remains, eternally, a child of New York.
  • On UNDRESS ME IN THE TEMPLE OF HEAVEN:
    "[A] standout travel memoir...Gilman's descriptions of their trials and tribulations crackle with wit."

  • "Youthfully upbeat, Gilman delivers an entertaining memoir...offering the full wallop of disorienting, in-the-moment, transformative travel adventures."

  •  "[An] ambitious and intimate coming-of-age memoir."

  • "UNDRESS ME IN THE TEMPLE OF HEAVEN is such a page-turning, suspenseful adventure you wish you'd gone along, yet so audaciously dangerous you're grateful you didn't. Both hair and consciousness-raising, Gilman's writing is not only wise-cracking but wise."

  • "With her trademark intelligent, irreverent voice Gilman takes us on a journey that feels terrifyingly real, immediate and life-threatening. The woman is no less than a godsend to a reading world that has become too used to lies, half-truth and spin."

  • "Susan Jane Gilman has written a surprising, beautifully suspenseful memoir about a common youthful dream: traveling the world with a backpack and a great deal of spunk. What befalls her and her traveling companion is so unexpected and frightening, I read the entire second half of the book in one sitting. Thank goodness she survived. Thank goodness she can tell a story so well." 

  • "What's the Chinese word for irresistible, bittersweet page-turner? If there isn't one, they'll have to invent it, for Susan Jane Gilman has written a searingly honest, occasionally laugh-out-loud funny tale of innocence lost--and found--abroad. Read this book and revel in your good fortune."

Formats

Product Details

Undress Me in the Temple of Heaven
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
  • Price: $15.99 US/$19.49 CAN
  • Pages: 320
  • Physical Dimensions: 6" x 9"
  • Audio Run Time: 0
  • ISBN-13: 9780446696937
  • On Sale Date: 02/08/2010
Undress Me in the Temple of Heaven