At the Corner of Fact & Fancy

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Jonathan David Pub, Oct 17, 2007 - Religion - 378 pages
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When Jonathan Kolatch's imagination is set free to wander, you never know where it might perch. Whether exploring the logistics of taking a Japanese bath, revisiting the remains of an evacuated Jewish settlement in Gaza, debunking the Dx game doctors play, or analyzing the economics of a chocolate chip cookie, he sees the world through a unique Kolatchian perspective. Blurring the lines between the factual and the fanciful, close to home or far away, Jon Kolatch makes us care about people we ve never met and consider things we ve never thought about. For Kolatch, debating whether to sell an aging car segues naturally into a contemplation of human immortality, and a chat with a West Bank rabbi over coexistence with neighboring Arabs begets a visit to a Palestinian legislator bent on scuttling the rabbi s peace dreams. From his earliest years, Jon Kolatch found himself following unconventional paths. Of thoroughly urban stock, when his parents acquired a modest tract of land two hours north of New York City, he found himself immersed in rural life: planting fruit trees, tinkering with recalcitrant lawn mowers, challenging poison ivy. Thus began a bipolar existence weekdays in the big city, weekends in the stix that continues to this day. Country themes inspired some of his earliest published pieces in The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. Conversant in Chinese, Japanese, Hebrew, French, and Arabic, Kolatch dons a second suit when visiting abroad, preferring out-of-the-way places where he can invite himself into a stranger s house and survey the local scene. Sometimes his worlds intersect, like when a frustrating vibration problem with a newly purchased tractor led him to write in Japanese to the general manager of the Kubota Tractor Company, in Osaka, Japan. The result: a one-of-a-kind device to solve the problem, an audience with the G.M., and a personalized tour of the tractor plant. Whether wandering through the serene backcountry of Wajima, Japan, or negotiating the danger-fraught markets of Khan Yunis in the Gaza Strip, Jonathan Kolatch s boundless energy and fearlessness of the unknown coupled with his ability to ingratiate himself with non-English speakers by communicating in their native tongue give him the access needed to tell his story. At the Corner of Fact and Fancy is a place where the serious and the lighthearted meet. You ll find it a sparkling place to visit.

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At the Corner of Fact & Fancy

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In this volume of eclectic essays, author and freelance journalist Kolatch (Is the Moon in China Just as Round?) addresses a range of topics with a light touch and a critical eye. A Ph.D. in Chinese ... Read full review

About the author (2007)

Jonathan Kolatch completed an M.A. at Harvard and a Ph.D. at Columbia in Chinese Studies. His articles on the Far East, the Middle East, medicine, and the rural American scene have appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post. He is the author of Sports, Politics and Ideology in China and Is the Moon in China Just as Round?

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