First published October 2009
Second printing January 2010
Third printing March 2010
Winner Whitcoulls Travel Book of The Year 2010
Third Place Ashton Wylie Award 2010
Transit Lounge Publishing, Melbourne
UNDER THE HUANG JIAO TREE:
TWO JOURNEYS IN CHINA
By Jane Carswell
'In mid-life Jane Carswell leaves her seemingly tranquil New Zealand home, her family and friends, to teach English in Chongqing, China. Her journey into the unknown epitomises the ache so many of us feel in our own lives for new challenges and personal understandings. Under the Huang Jiao Tree is a reflective, amusing and absorbing book about living and working in China, and the profound impact the experience has on the author’s search for connection and community. Carswell writes beautifully and entertainingly of China, of its people and her surprises and setbacks, but where her memoir stands alone is in its description of her own search for a spiritual life and practice. On return to her New Zealand life she becomes drawn to the teachings of St Benedict, and all at once the reader realises where the purity of her writing springs from: a deep well of calm, silence and belief.'
Transit Lounge Publishing, Melbourne
'Jane Carswell’s account of a year teaching in a Chongqing middle school combines an acute eye for detail ...' Read further...
Professor Bill Willmott CNZM
Former Past President
New Zealand China Friendship Society
'This is a wonderful story of mid-life opportunity. Jane Carswell is a courageous woman and a spirited writer. Her book is ...' Read further...
Author of 'The Lost Art of Sleep',
'Bypass' and 'Things You Get For Free'
Bookseller+Publisher, October to November reviews
‘A light fresh memoir of a Westerner teaching in China, with insightful observations that lead to a journey of self-discovery. After throwing herself into the chaotic... ’ Read further...
The Sunday Age (Melbourne), 9 October 2009
‘The two journeys of the title are spatial and spiritual. Carswell was a music teacher in New Zealand, settled into middle age, but restless. She was selected ... ’ Read further...
Launceston Examiner (Tasmania) 9 October 2009
'It’s a long way from New Zealand to China in more ways than one. The author makes this journey to teach English in a middle school in Sichuan Province ... ' Read further...
The Dominion Post (Wellington) 12 November 2009
‘A memoir by a 56-year-old Kiwi music teaching about 10 months of teaching English in China would not voluntarily make it into the teetering tower... ’ Read further...
bookshop page of New Zealand Community for ChristianMeditation website
The Age (Melbourne) 26 December 2009
'The Westerner's spiritual journey to the East has become such a cliche that any author writing on the subject must tread carefully. Jane Carswell treads not only carefully, but thoughtfully and originally...’Read further...
The Otago Daily Times (Dunedin) 12 December 2009
'Over the past few weeks, China seems to have been to the fore whenever I pick up a paper, magazine or pick up on a conversation. The accounts of life there differed wildly. Among them were the New Zealand tourist...'Read further...
Australian Community for Christian Meditation Newsletter, March 2010
‘I am always delighted when I receive invitations to attend exhibitions or such like, to view the creative works ...’Read further...
Born in England, Jane Carswell received all her schooling at St Margaret’s College in Christchurch, New Zealand where she now lives. Other homes were in Dunedin, Perugia (where she studied Italian) Waikari, Leeston and Chongqing (where she taught English). After piano lessons with Jessie Cook until she was 25, Jane began a lifelong career in teaching music. She has also worked with publishers, booksellers, lawyers, accountants, historians, real estate agents and artists, and enjoys close involvement with the New Zealand China Friendship Society, New Zealand Community for Christian Meditation, 12-step programmes and the NZ Society of Authors. She is a Benedictine oblate, is married, and has a son and daughter, a 1912 straight-strung Bechstein piano, a split-cane fly rod, and small grandchildren who are teaching her ballet. She is a regular visitor to Australia.