“What a romp. After writing about music for years, Alan Paul walked the walk, preaching the blues in China. Anyone who doubts that music is bigger than words need to read this great tale.”

-Gregg Allman, the Allman Brothers Band

“A big-hearted memoir with emotional depth.”


“Funny, poignant…Immensely enjoyable.”

-Booklist Starred Review

“Alan Paul plunges into Chinese life and takes us along for the ride, through vegetable markets, used-car lots, Taoist temples, divey bars, and a beachside music festival before thousands of cheering fans. He conveys the thrills and challenges of living abroad, the confusions and regrets, and most of all the opportunity to become the person we always hoped to be.”

-Peter Hessler, author, River Town; Country Driving

“Big in China vividly conveys the open-ended, chaotic, wonder and possibility of being a foreigner in today’s China. Alan Paul’s evolution from expat-village ‘trailing spouse’ to star of the Chinese music scene stands for countless similar developments underway in China now. I hope many people read this book — and at least consider a similar adventure themselves.”

-James Fallows, author, Postcards from Tomorrow Square

“It’s hard to imagine a better American musical ambassador than Alan Paul. After spent crafting words, he found himself in a situation where words didn’t work anymore and was able to transcend them and make a deeper emotional connection with music. With the help of great local musicians, he bridged cultures with notes. It’s an amazing story.”

-Warren Haynes, the Allman Brothers Band

  “A charming exploration of an expat’s unlikely rise to fame, as well as the lessons learned along the way.”

-Kirkus Reviews

“An absolute love story. In his embrace of family, friends, music and the new culture he’s discovering, Alan Paul leaves us contemplating the love in our own lives, and rethinking the concept of home.”

– Jeffrey Zaslow, coauthor,The Last Lecture

“Generations of adventurers have daydreamed about seeing their names in lights in the world’s biggest country. But Alan Paul-musician, writer, and stay-at-home father of three-actually achieved it through sheer will and talent.”

-Evan Osnos, China Correspondent, The New Yorker

“Instead of complaining about China, a favorite expat pastime, Alan Paul embraced the country with child-like enthusiasm.  This readable, human account of his China experience shows how one can be richly rewarded in a supposedly ‘hard posting’ when armed with an open, adventurous mind and the Chinese people’s ‘go-get-it’ spirit.”

-Lijia Zhang, author, Socialism Is Great.

“An inspirational, eloquent travelogue that that flows like a soul-baring letter to friends as it carries readers along on a personal journey of discovery in a land that is rediscovering itself.”

-James McGregor, author, One Billion Customers

“Reads like an epic adventure, with music at its heart and the unity of people as its goal.  It is fascinating and inspiring to see Alan Paul’s cross-cultural, dual-language blues band, Woodie Alan, come to life. When they hit their stride the magic sucks you in and makes you want to shout like B.B. King.”

-Rick Telander, author, Heaven Is a Playground

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