Gorgeous and unique, Where the World Does Not Follow captures an almost-hidden China. Acclaimed translator Mike O’Connor and photographer Steven Johnson uncover a world rarely seen by outsiders—even as they capture it in its everyday beauty. O’Connor’s translations of poems from China’s Tang Dynasty sing in the present day, while Johnson’s photographs reveal a modern-day China that seems almost unchanged by the passing of centuries.
Chinese authorities are only now allowing access to ancient Buddhist sites and many writings and devotional objects are being made available for the first time in decades. These poems written by Zen and Taoist hermit-sages, together with the crisp yet almost dreamlike images capture the aesthetic, literary, and spiritual roots of Buddhist China. Where the World Does Not Follow provides insight into a world that very few have been able to visit—and a time difficult even to imagine. O’Connor and Johnson's book is a hymn to nature, to the art of photography, and to the common beauty of humanity that extends to us like a silk thread from another time and place.