I haven't read Undress Me in the Temple of Heaven, but Bermuda Onion liked it, and that's generally endorsement enough for me. So when my former writing teacher gave me the heads up that Susan Gilman was giving a reading at Powells tonight, I had to go.
Undress Me in the Temple of Heaven is a memoir of Susan's trip to China in the mid-eighties with her friend Claire. Wanting adventure and a world exprience, they arrived in Hong Kong prepared with Mandarin phrase books, the first Lonely Planet guidebook to Asia, Swiss army knives, and water purification tablets . . . but totally unprepared for a land where they couldn't read menus, call home, or communicate with the citizens of a smaller town they visited, who spoke a different dialict from Mandarin.
Susan gave a magnificent reading. The sections she read were well-worded and full of self-deprecating humor, and had the audience riveted. (In fact, when it came time for questions, nearly all of them were some form of "what happened next?"). I definitely wasn't the only one there who's dying to get started on the book!