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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.
This book should be read by anyone interested in modern China.
After living in China for over two years, I found Peter's book to be very insightful to the "Chinese Characteristics" of the Chinese people.
Peter Hessler writes with the perfect combination of clarity, style, and humor that makes any books of his a great read.
One of my favourite all-time books. Peter Hessler immerses you in the world of rural China, before it opens to the west. Read morePublished 9 days ago by Jefff_H
This is a superbly written account by one acute observer of one part of China while the country was undergoing tremendous change in the mid-1990s. Read morePublished 14 days ago by Carno Polo
This is not a documentary book of the usual kind. This is all about a Peace Corp volunteer's experience in China. As such I found it captivating and very revealing. Read morePublished 18 days ago by Gilbert C. Pogany
I really loved this book. I am very intersted in China and I especially like more in depth looks, not just big brush theorizing. Read morePublished 28 days ago by deepwater
Fascinating book. Peter Hessler provides real insight into daily life over a two-year period spent living and teaching at a Chinese college in a small Yangtze River town, before... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Romany kayaker
He mocked, he criticized, but most of all, he really tried to understand the river town he was living in. As he put it himself: this isn't a book about China. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Forrest
During my four day Yangtze cruise.... all modern and relaxing, I read this terrific book. It gave me perspective. Read morePublished 1 month ago by dday
An exceptional first person account of his daily cultural discoveries revealed in detail by an American teaching English in rural China.Published 1 month ago by Nathan Gates