Finding Compassion in China by Cindie CohaganMy rating: Nonfiction Travel
Source: Publisher (direct)
Finding Compassion in China tells the story of a husband and wife on the road, long-term nomads whose bicycle touring lifestyle takes them into China. Reading this book feels a lot like sitting down with your best friend to hear about her holiday, such is the familiar, matter-of-fact tone of Cohagan's narration.
Having done some long-distance bicycle touring myself, I was expecting tales of injury, exhaustion, and crawling into a damp tent to try and warm up - yet for the first half of the book, at least, there is almost no illustration of daily life in the saddle. This does change later in the story, when Cindie and Tim reach the additional challenges of the Himalayas, but in the beginning it almost feels too easy.
In fact, if I have one criticism of this book, it's that it feels light on the detail, prioritising breadth over depth. Cohagan gives a day-by-day, village-by-village account of her travels, but I would happily have swapped hearing about one more bowl of noodle soup for breakfast, for a little more depth in the tales of human encounters. This is an easy and enjoyable read, and definitely reinforced my wish to visit the Chinese countryside, but what I really wanted was to feel like I was already there.