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Books > Biographies & Memoirs > Travelers & Explorers > 9881516110
  1. Dispatches from the Peninsula: Six Years in South Korea
    Dispatches from the Peninsula: Six Years in South Korea
    Dispatches from the Peninsula: Six Years in South Korea
    Image(s) provided for illustrative purposes and may differ from the actual product
  2. Dispatches from the Peninsula: Six Years in South Korea

    Delivery: 10-20 Working Days
    Customer Ratings (21 reviews)
    Price R499.00

Additional Information

Thousands of young adults pass through South Korea each year, teaching English in private schools that together make up one of the country's largest industries. Korea, long isolated by culture and geography, with a complex language and set of social mores, can be a difficult place to call home. Chris Tharp has begun to make a name for himself as a travel writer, and in this gruff but affectionate memoir, explains why Korea can be both hard to like and hard to leave. He navigates his way through the timeless alleys and neon streets of Korea's cities, painting a picture of a society that is at once ancient and utterly modern; he serves in the trenches of the English teaching industry, working his way from the private, for-profit academy to the university; he treks through the peninsula's mountain valleys and rides deep into the country's rural soul on the back of his motorcycle; he also explores the internal geography of Korea, from nearly being deported over a comedy performance, getting caught in the middle of a street riot, to staring face-to-face with North Korean soldiers along the DMZ. During this six-year journey, Tharp must also deal with the death of his parents, which forces him to ask the question: Is home a place that we're from, or is it something we take with us wherever we go?


Chris Tharp
Signal 8 Press
Signal 8 Press
black & white illustrations
black & white illustrations
Signal 8 Press
Signal 8 Press
Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Dispatches from the Peninsula is about an American’s indoctrination into work, life, and leisure as an expatriate English teacher in South Korea. Author Christ Tharp, a native of the Pacific Northwest, recounts his first impressions, observations, and challenges that come with life in a foreign culture. He writes with honesty and truthfulness as illustrated in the following excerpt that reports on his first experience at the Busan Fish Market:

“At one point I saw a crafty fellow escape his prison and make a break for it, correctly heading in the direction of the sea. He made it about fifteen feet before his minder-another rubber-and-visor-adorned grandmother-noticed his attempt. She rose from her stool and tromped over to the octopus, grabbed it firmly by its head, and flung it back into the bucket. No gentle keeper, she punctuated this move with a barrage of verbal abuse delivered from the depths of her throat. There is no room for sentimentality at the fish... Read more
More than just a memoir about a US citizen living in Korea, this is a highly entertaining and personal account of what it's like to discover a new way of living. Overall, it's the author's brutal honesty about his ex-pat experience that makes this book a real page-turner. That, and it's funny as hell.

Chris Tharp is obviously not a man to shy away from danger, as displayed in the difficult areas he chooses to visit (poor, remote areas of Korea, to the infamous "dog market"), the characters he interacts with along the way (some really mean, drunk English teachers, not to mention the terrifying kids he has to teach), and the subjects he chooses to write about (so-called "yellow fever," some "dark nights of the soul," as well as the death of his parents).

In a sense, it's a love story between a man and a country: the awkward initial flirtations, the crush blossoming into full-blown love affair, and the doubts and difficulties thereafter.

One of the... Read more
Chris Tharp's book is a lively and colorful memoir of time spent as an expat in South Korea. Having done the English teacher thing myself and loving the hell out of it, I sought to see if anyone had written about their own experiences. Having read what Chris has gone through, I went through a personal journey of my own reliving similar memories. Working and living in South Korea is an experience few people ever forget, and I believe it changes most for the better. Chris has a great way of detailing his most adventurous exploits, as well as getting into the culture a little bit. The book is incredibly easy to read, and I got through it rather quickly since I was enjoying it. I look forward to more writings from the author. Anyone who has thought of teaching in South Korea, is a current expat, or has been in the past would find this book enjoyable.
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