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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.
I read this for my Eastern Civ. class and actually really enjoyed it. It's humorous at times, unpredictable at others, and gives a clear view of the people and culture he... Read morePublished 1 day ago by Nylad Mazzic
Great personal story without being too sentimental, self conscious or preachy. I learned a lot about China. Really good travel literature. Read morePublished 15 days ago by John Cannon
I listened to the audio file of the book during my 8 hour drive and found his story mesmerizing. I will be getting Oracle Bones next.Published 1 month ago by terry38
One of my favorite books. Wish I'd kept it, but gave it to a young lady going th China to study. Inspiring and so informative about the PEOPLE.Published 1 month ago by S. Nelson
This tale had everything I hoped it would - an artful blend of storytelling, history, insight and customs. I'm off to read his next book - Oracle Bones.Published 2 months ago by Kristine K. Stevens
This book covers the author's (Peter Hessler) experiences during the two years he spent as a Peace Corps volunteer teaching English & American Literature in Fuling, China... Read morePublished 2 months ago by F. Moyer
Fascinating book, especially having just visited China and traveled down the Yangtze. A great insight into living in a remote area of China.Published 2 months ago by Hazel J Gull
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 2 months ago by Jefff_H