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"Few passengers disembark at Fuling ... and so Fuling appears like a break in a dream--the quiet river, the cabins full of travelers drifting off to sleep, the lights of the city rising from the blackness of the Yangtze," says Hessler. A poor city by Chinese standards, the students at the college are mainly from small villages and are considered very lucky to be continuing their education. As an English teacher, Hessler is delighted with his students' fresh reactions to classic literature. One student says of Hamlet, "I don't admire him and I dislike him. I think he is too sensitive and conservative and selfish." Hessler marvels,
You couldn't have said something like that at Oxford. You couldn't simply say: I don't like Hamlet because I think he's a lousy person. Everything had to be more clever than that ... you had to dismantle it ... not just the play itself but everything that had ever been written about it.Over the course of two years, Hessler and Meier learn more they ever guessed about the lives, dreams, and expectations of the Fuling people.
Hessler's writing is lovely. His observations are evocative, insightful, and often poignant--and just as often, funny. It's a pleasure to read of his (mis)adventures. Hessler returned to the U.S. with a new perspective on modern China and its people. After reading River Town, you'll have one, too. --Dana Van Nest --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Two years in a small city accessible only by ships running on the Yangtze river is a long time. Limited communications due to the language barrier, constant source of curiosity... Read morePublished 9 days ago by Andrée Ottawa
As I was preparing for a trip to China, reading this was an easy way to learn about the culture. More research is needed but it's a good start. Well written.Published 19 days ago by Kindle Customer
This is interesting and I have liked learning about this part of China. It is written as a documentary which makes it a little dry. But very much worth reading.Published 27 days ago by fwpc
The book is a well-written summary of the author's interactions with local rural Chinese during his two years as an English teacher with the Peace Corps in the 1990s. Read morePublished 1 month ago by John A. Dragseth
One of the best books I have read in a while. Peter really paints a portrait of what living in China is like, from the annoyances that end up growing on us as well as the curious,... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Houston Traveler
Seldom have I read a book whose writing style and story line captivated me so. I am an English teacher in China's Shandong province nearly 20 years after Rivertown, and Peter's... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Kurt Robertson