When Things Get Dark by Matthew Davis
A Mongolian Winter's Tale

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At 23, Matt Davis moved to a remote Mongolian town to teach English.What he found when he arrived was a town—and a country—undergoing wholesale change from a traditional, countryside existence to a more urban, modern identity. When Things Get Dark documents these changes through the Mongolians Matt meets, but also focuses on the author's downward spiral into alcohol abuse and violence--a scenario he saw played out by many of the Mongolian men around him. Matt's self-destruction culminates in a drunken fight with three men that forces him to a hospital to have his kidneys X-rayed. He hits bottom in that cold hospital room, his body naked and shivering, a bloodied Mongolian man staring at him from an open door, the irrational thought in his head that maybe he is going to die there. His personal struggles are balanced with insightful descriptions of customs and interactions, and interlaced with essays on Mongolian history and culture that make for a fascinating glimpse of a mysterious place and people.
 

About Matthew Davis

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MATTHEW DAVIS is a MFA graduate of the University of Iowa’s Nonfiction Writing Program and currently a graduate student at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. A chapter of this book has won the 2005 Atlantic Monthly prize in nonfiction and another chapter was a "notable essay" in the 2006 Best American Travel Writing series. Matt lives in Washington, D.C.
 
Published February 16, 2010 by St. Martin's Press. 320 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Travel. Non-fiction

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After the Soviets had largely obscured Mongolian history deriving from Chinggis Khan—as the name of the founder of the Mongolian Empire is written here—the great warrior has been rediscovered with a vengeance, and Davis provides a serviceable history of Mongolian politics (the country is only now...

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