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Descripción de editorial
National Magazine Award finalist Christopher Howard's debut novel, Tea of Ulaanbaatar, tells the story of disaffected Peace Corps volunteer Warren, who flees life in late-capitalist America to find himself stationed in the post-Soviet industrial hell of urban Mongolia. As the American presence crumbles, Warren seeks escape in tsus, the mysterious "blood tea" that may be the final revenge of the defeated Khans—or that may be only a powerful hallucinogen operating on an uneasy mind—as a phantasmagoria of violence slowly envelops him.
With prose that combines Benjamin Kunkel's satiric bite, William Burroughs’s dark historical reimagining, and a lush literary beauty all his own, Christopher Howard in Tea of Ulaanbaatar unfolds a story of expatriate angst, the dark side of globalization, and middle-class nightmares—and announces himself as one of the most inventive and ambitious of the new generation of American novelists.
It's youthful idealism gone wild in Howard's striking debut. Part of the eighth Peace Corps team ever granted access to Mongolia, Warren is stationed in a "cursed" late 1990s Ulaanbaatar, working as a teacher and killing time with his somewhat unhinged group of Peace Corps cohorts; there are "five of them and nine hundred thousand Mongols." When he's not busy obsessively washing his hands 40 to 50 times "on a bad day" or dreaming of his college girlfriend, Padma, Warren takes up with Subdaa, a bad-news Mongolian he soon accompanies on a bender. Despite warnings, the pair starts experimenting with tsus, a highly addictive blood-red tea that inspires fanatical devotion and some serious delusions. Howard's tight and witty writing gives spry life to what could otherwise be a ho-hum stranger-in-a-strange-land kind of tale. His characters are well developed, and Warren, despite his moral decay, is easy to root for and hallucinations withstanding a reliable guide. Though the large chunks of drug-induced rambling could have easily been pruned, the energetic prose pushes the story along at a healthy clip, even when, as Warren's co-worker says, "It's always saddening to see this, when a foreigner loses his way in Ulaanbaatar."