In a classroom in sultry Guangzhou, having never before left the United States nor taught a class on anything, armed only with a beginner’s grasp of the language, Brasunas is confronted daily by thirty-seven ninth graders in uniform. Only his intrinsic curiosity about Chinese culture and about himself drives him on, to keep trying in the tense classroom, to trust his instincts in the frenetic and dishonest street markets, and to make new friends from all walks of life.
When the school year ends, Brasunas sets off with just a backpack across the vastness of China, along the Silk Road in the north, and to the edge of ancient Tibet in the west. His rugged road brings daunting perils, unexpected romance, and wild twists of fate that transform his understanding of right and wrong, beauty and truth, suffering and happiness.
Double Happiness is a bold and inspiring journey across China and through the soul of a young American.
Targeted Age Group:: Adult
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
My adventures in China transformed who I am, changed my life, and provided the inspiration for Double Happiness. When I left the US, I was 22 years old and pretty lost; I didn’t know who I was. I went to China, somewhere I was completely isolated and alone, and through a year of teaching and traveling throughout the country I learned ways to be the person I’ve always wanted to be, and to find happiness — to find a way to be a happy person — that I didn’t know existed. When I returned, I was inspired to share the experience with others in the hope that the lessons I learned would be of use to others. I finally decided to write a book. If Double Happiness reaches other people, if it reaches even one person, who through reading this story learns a little more about how to be happy, that we don’t have to suffer, and that we’re meant to be ourselves, to be who we already are, to come awake and come alive — the book will have achieved its goals.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
It’s a memoir. The characters are all real people you could meet!
“Do you want to tickle the dragon?”
My father was calling up to me. I was curled near the ceiling in a carpeted cubby he had built as a loft space. Lying on my belly like a snake, I sorted golden rivets into piles: long, yellow brass ones; shorter, reddish copper ones; dull, gray steel ones. It was fun and important work, but I could never resist tickling the dragon.
I climbed down the ladder and stepped onto the sooty concrete floor. The smell of coal hung in the air around my father’s brick forge. I grabbed hold of the wooden peg on the giant black wheel and pulled it down. The wheel began to turn. Because I wasn’t tall enough, I let the wheel spin the peg back up, and I caught it again as it came down, pulling again so the wheel began to turn faster. Heat radiated in intensifying waves from the hole in the center of the forge, and embers of hot orange and gold flew from the hole. The dragon was breathing!
“That’s it,” said my father. “Good. He’s awake.” In iron tongs he clutched a long piece of black steel that maybe, finally, he would make into a sword instead of a horseshoe, triangle, or fancy gate.
About the Author:
Tony Brasunas grew up in West Virginia in an intentional spiritual community, attended a large public high school in Atlanta, and matriculated at a small New England college.
When he’s not writing, he’s working in the field of solar energy, playing guitar or soccer, or traveling to faraway lands with his wife.
Links to Purchase Print Books
Link to Buy Double Happiness Print Edition at Amazon
Link to Buy Double Happiness Print Edition at Barnes and Noble
Link to Double Happiness Print book for sale via at CreateSpace
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