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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.
Peter Hessler spent two years with the Peace Corps in the late '90's
teaching literature at a teachers' college along the Yangtze River, in a town
now flooded near the... Read more
Good insight into the early years of China's recent 'growth spurt'. I recommend reading this one of the trilogy first (River Town, Oracle Bones, & Country Driving)Published 20 days ago by John Johnston
As a regular travelled to China, I really appreciated Hessler's perspectives on culture. I observed many of the same things and wondered about how to interpret them - he was on... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Peter K. Dorhout
It was limited in depth and could have been edited down to reduce long winded sections. The book seems to be more of a recap of his time in China versus an experience living abroad... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Remi F. Rieger
I feel like Peter Hessler is honest without slipping into the bitterness and borderline racism of many China writers. He works hard to understand China instead of passing judgment.Published 1 month ago by Britani
I wish to thank Mr. Hessler for writing this book. I have always enjoyed reading books of this kind, and this book fascinates me greatly for as if I had gone through the journey... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Roger
As a foreigner living in China for only two months, a Singaporean woman recommended this book to me as a way to understand some of the history from the last 100 years I thoroughly... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Patricia