French writer explores Chinese people’s relationship with time

Source: Global Times Published: 2020/11/4 18:23:40

Image of the book Photo: Courtesy of the Sanlian publishing house

French writer Christine Cayol has been observing Chinese people in an attempt to better understand the culture of China since she first began to live in the country nearly 20 years ago. Through a long period of adaptation, she finally adopted the lifestyle of Chinese people and the culture of the country and is now looking to share her experience with readers in her book Pourquoi les Chinois ont-ils le temps? (lit: Chinese people in time).

Arriving in Beijing in 2003, Cayol felt that the city was very complicated, both closed off and open, lukewarm and enthusiastic. She also did not understand Chinese people's relationship with time.

Despite access to telephones and emails, Chinese people value face-to-face communication more and do not hesitate to travel several hours by plane to attend a short party. Seeing each other, even if only for a few minutes, is much more important than whatever could be said over the telephone.

Christine Cayol Photo: Coutersy of the Sanlian publishing house

 Cayol gradually found that Chinese people have made friends with time itself and are not hurried all the time, which is a bit like group dancing on public squares, an activity she has come to love - "instead of resisting it, I decided to dance with it."

Through her own observations and thinking, she pointed out that the Chinese people's wisdom in dealing with time might be a cure for the Western  "time disease." 

The cover design of this book highlights the image of a  "landscape." Both drawings of some Western painters such as Cezanne and Chinese traditional ink paintings are contained in the book, so as to help readers understand the two different and complementary views of time in China and the West.

Posted in: BOOKS

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