China Cuckoo: How I lost a fortune and found a life in China
New Edition of this classic now available
New edition with extra chapter by the author describing his decision to leave China after 15 years and discussing whether foreigners can ever really be at home in China.
About China Cuckoo
First published in 2009, China Cuckoo: How I lost a fortune and found a life in China is the charming true story of a witty and eccentric Sinophile Englishman and his Chinese tree-change. Now the book is available again in a new edition which continues the story of Mark’s adventures in rural China, and reveals his decision – after 15 years – to leave China.
Set in Moganshan a dilapidated, beautiful Chinese mountain village, the author, Mark Kitto, a former commodities trader and magazine publisher, is the first westerner to return and live in the village fifty years on.
Rejecting the corporate world, and the glamour of Shanghai, Mark eventually persuades his urbane Chinese wife to make Moganshan their permanent home. With a toddler in tow they take the bold step of moving their lives to the isolated village, taking over an old brothel to start a western style cafe.
In the process the author uncovers the history of the mountain retreat; its ‘discovery’ and development by missionaries, its popularity with celebrities, and drug dealers (Chinese and foreign).
In the 1990s Kitto co-created That’s Shanghai, Beijing and Guangzhou, the most popular, profitable and independent English language publications since the Daily News. The UK Financial Times described him as a, ‘mini media mogul’.
With his growing Anglo-Chinese family, he is still trying to contribute to the country he chose as home. His small cafe business on the mountain is helping to restore the popularity of Moganshan.
Mark’s story is an illustration of past and present China’s relations with foreigners. It describes, in the words of one who has suffered and benefited from both, the risks and rewards of going ‘China Cuckoo’.
Praise for China Cuckoo
Mr. Kitto is at the center of the revival of interest in Moganshan among foreigners. — The New York Times (2012)
Resonates with gentle echoes of Peter Mayle’s A Year in Provence… A charming adventure… Liberally peppered with intriguing history…. Kitto’s writing style is always self-deprecating, occasionally wide-eyed and sometimes uplifting — South China Morning Post
A genuinely fascinating insight into life in rural China, written with humour and nerve. — Daily Telegraph
A fascinating and often hilarious insight into China and the Chinese. — Good Book Guide
Evocative and lyrical — Irish Times
A fantastic old-school, three-piece suited adventure from a man who knows China far better than most — Geographical Magazine
A funny and surprisingly fond memoir — The Canberra Times
(An) autobiographical love-letter to Moganshan… brings alive the ‘forgotten’ European history of Moganshan… China Cuckoo is a rare bird — Sydney Ideas Quarterly
A surprisingly easy-to-read account of a foreigner trying to fit into a Chinese community… engaging insights into the Chinese in general and past and present life in Moganshan in particular…backed by plenty of research and some interesting parallels. — China Economic Review
Mark Interviewed by The Sunday Times (UK)