Beautiful Country: A Novel by J.R. ThorntonBeautiful Country: A Novel by J.R. Thornton

Beautiful Country: A Novel

byJ.R. Thornton

Paperback | April 19, 2016

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A coming-of-age story set in modern day China centering on the friendship between an American and a Chinese boy who meet while training with Beijing’s Junior National Tennis Team.

Chase Robertson arrives in Beijing as a fourteen-year-old boy still troubled by the recent death of his older brother. He discovers a country in transition; a society in which the dual systems of Communist Era state control and an emerging entrepreneurial culture exist in paradox.

A top ranked junior tennis player in the U.S., Chase joins the practices of the Beijing National Junior Tennis Team and is immersed in the brutal, cut-throat world of Chinese sport. It is a world in which gifted children are selected at the ages of six or seven for specialized sport schools where they devote their entire youth to the pursuit of athletic excellence and are paid as professionals by the state. Athletes find themselves compelled to do anything possible to succeed—right or wrong. Those who fail to reach the pinnacle are cast aside and are left facing a desperate future without hope.

In China, Chase gains access to a culture rarely open to Westerners, and soon finds himself caught up in secrets. When his closest friend and teammate turns to him for help, Chase is faced with the dilemma of what to do when friendship, rules, and morals are in conflict.

A big-hearted debut, Beautiful Country explores a friendship against the backdrop of a quickly changing country.

Title:Beautiful Country: A NovelFormat:PaperbackDimensions:320 pages, 8 × 5.31 × 0.72 inPublished:April 19, 2016Publisher:HarperCollinsLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0062411918

ISBN - 13:9780062411914


Rated 5 out of 5 by from Pick this up for the summer I have never visited mainland China and I do not know a lot about tennis, but I found this book to be fascinating and rewarding. It was refreshing to watch the story unfold through the eyes of this young author, who is clearly an emerging talent to watch. The main character Chase finds himself navigating the complexities of a cultural divide that touches nearly every aspect of our society today as China asserts its economic and cultural clout. But it all also illuminates how we can enrich our own lives by listening, understanding and bridging those divides. The book is very accessible and a very strong first novel from JR Thornton. I would definitely recommend that you check it out.
Date published: 2016-06-20
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great book I bought this book for my 2 nephews but ended up reading it myself - I couldn't put it down! A great coming-of-age book and highly recommended!
Date published: 2016-05-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Superb Superb novel, especially for young boys. Reminds me very much of "A Separate Peace" by John Knowles. Am giving it to a few friends with teenage boys in the family.
Date published: 2016-04-20

Editorial Reviews

“Compelling and authentic… a story of China as told by an outsider. Through the perspective of a young American, we can see a different side to our country and ourselves - one that is unfamiliar, but real.”