Tribulations of a Chinaman in China
by Jules Verne
Jules Verne has written, and Virginia Champlin translated, The Tribulations of a Chinaman in China, which is, as a matter of course, highly amusing and absurd. The scenes are laid in a country not often chosen in fiction, and the plan is as novel as it is preposterous. Nobody but this extravagant and irresponsible author would have been likely to have executed such a piece of work. To give the plot would be to spoil it: enough to say that the hero, Kin-fo, who is young, rich, handsome, and about to be married, is also tired of living, and after insuring his life for a hundred years at an immense sum, covering all risks, even of suicide, decides to kill himself that his betrothed and his friend Wang may have the money, but changing his mind agrees with the latter on assassination. Afterwards concluding that he will live, he hunts China over in search of Wang, who has disappeared, two of the company's agents going with him. Their adventures, in which a phonograph and Paul Boyton's armor have an important part, are the wildest conceivable, but all ends well, and Kin-fo, turned philosopher after his vicissitudes, sees that only those who know "how to appreciate life " are fit to live. Jules Verne has evidently "read up" China to good purpose, for there is a great amount of information, down to minute points of etiquette and ways of living, and the descriptions of Chinese matters, geographical, political, and social, are accurate and interesting.