The Price of Tea in China


With the practiced eye of a traveler at large, E. Shaskan Bumas portrays characters struggling to define their relationships to each other and to their time. Whether scientists or artisans, punks or new-agers, single mothers or students, activists or children in harm's way, Bumas's characters fill these stories with heart and subversive humor. The Price of Tea in China depicts places as far-flung as a Manhattan ghetto and a provincial Chinese city through an exploration of human relationships that makes each location both foreign and familiar.

In "Flag of Fire," an American teacher becomes caught up in the lives of students engaged in China's pro-democracy movement. "Your Cordially Requested Presence" reveals a man's humorous sufferings as he acts the part of fiance for a lesbian friend at her cousin's wedding. "The Attraction to Gravity" brings us a young man whose growing appreciation of his girlfriend's small daughter is threatened by her father's reappearance. In "Cupid's Carriers," a student chronicles college life in the era of punk rock through a journal that takes on a life of its own. In "Emerging," a neighborhood's web of its inhabitants is torn apart by a police riot, and in "Spare the Child," a man describes the unplanned pregnancy of his girlfriend with biting dislike.

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