Jeffrey Wasserstrom’s take on In Manchuria in the FT’s Weekend section is here. It concludes:
There’s one final aspect of In Manchuria that gives it an edge over The Porcelain Thief, especially for anyone looking for a book to take on a first trip to China: it contains a sweetly told love story. Meyer doesn’t head to Wasteland just to satisfy his curiosity about the fate of Chinese rural communities, but also to learn how his wife became the person she is. Although Francis makes only occasional cameo appearances, the couple’s courtship and road to starting a family become a central thread in the book. Her dissection of how cynically fortune cookie sentiments would read if they had been written by a hard-nosed contemporary resident of China rather than by an American trying to ventriloquise a jolly Confucius (“The current year will bring you much happiness” would become “This is as good as it gets”, she suggests) is one of In Manchuria’s standout passages.