- Hardcover: 336 pages
- Publisher: Crown (May 17, 2016)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0553418084
- ISBN-13: 978-0553418088
- Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.1 x 9.4 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 101 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #692,812 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ $3.99 shipping
Street of Eternal Happiness: Big City Dreams Along a Shanghai Road Hardcover – May 17, 2016
|New from||Used from|
"The Silent Patient" by Alex Michaelides
"An unforgettable―and Hollywood-bound―new thriller...A mix of Hitchcockian suspense, Agatha Christie plotting, and Greek tragedy."―Entertainment Weekly | Learn more
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
Praise for Street of Eternal Happiness
A World Magazine Best Book of the Year
A Telegraph Best Travel Book of the Year
“Poignant [and] enjoyable… Schmitz’s eye for scenes and ear for dialogue give an immediacy to his stories that more expository works often lack.”
—New York Times Book Review
“A portrait of China from the stories of a single Shanghai street…a poignant microcosm.”
“Enjoyable and illuminating… The great virtue of these books is that they offer Chinese people a voice, something that is often lacking in news coverage. Schmitz writes with great affection about the shopkeepers and other residents of his street: in telling their stories, he shows how the goals of the Chinese state have ‘often stood in the way of individual dreams.’”
“Hopes and struggles rise to the surface in this intimate portrait of modern China.”
“Educational and entertaining… rich with voices… The people [Schmitz] features are…fully rounded characters, whose stories emerge in chat after chat, chapter after chapter, so we feel we are getting to know them as the writer does... [Readers] will feel much wiser about China and the Chinese than when they started.”
“This beautifully conceived and written book conveys the joys, the tragedies, the comedy, and the vivid humanity of modern China. No one will talk about ‘China's rise’ or ‘the China model’ in the same way after reading it, and years from now people will turn to this book to understand the China of this era.”
—James Fallows, author of China Airborne and Postcards from Tomorrow Square
“Street of Eternal Happiness is a marvel of place-based reporting. This single road illuminates the complexities, contradictions, and funny wonder of today’s China. This book is really about family—the most eternal force on any street in the country.”
—Peter Hessler, author of River Town, Oracle Bones, and Country Driving
“Rob Schmitz has given us a treasure: a patient portrait of an impatient country, a China that is utterly true to life in its beauty and heartache, tenderness and greed. His story is told in real lives that are, like Shanghai itself, modern and imperfect, romantic and ruthlessly practical. Reading this is as close as most people will come to living there.”
—Evan Osnos, National Book Award winning author of Age of Ambition
“Schmitz peels back the layers of a single street to discover ambition, reinvention, faith, corruption, murder, and heartbreak. In this intimate and revealing book, a two-mile stretch of road embodies the dreams and dramas of modern China.”
—Leslie T. Chang, author of Factory Girls
“Rob Schmitz is a master storyteller who leads his readers into the heart and history of modern China. Street of Eternal Happiness is, in turn, funny, moving, tragic and—ultimately—emotionally satisfying. Nobody can pretend to understand Shanghai and contemporary China without reading it.”
—Adam Minter, author of Junkyard Planet
“At last, an intimate look at daily life in contemporary, convivial Shanghai. All great cities have a great book that captures their rise or fall; Street of Eternal Happiness is Shanghai’s.”
—Michael Meyer, author of In Manchuria and The Last Days of Old Beijing
“A kaleidoscope of Chinese history, from famine and Cultural Revolution to one-child policy. Above all, these tales illustrate the perils and hopes of living the Chinese Dream, written with penetrating insight and charming fluidity. A delight.”
—Mei Fong, Pulitzer Prize winner for International Reporting and author of One Child
“For nearly two centuries Shanghai has been a city that offered both Chinese and foreigners the possibility of success, wealth, and status. Rob Schmitz paints a vivid canvas of the city from the perspective of one big city street that neatly encapsulates the myriad aspirations of one country and its people. The Street of Eternal Happiness: a thoroughfare of aspirations and dreams, hard earned successes and sadly thwarted hopes where Schmitz encounters the ghosts of China’s troubled past, the hard working yet wistful dreamers of today, and those whose sights and visions are firmly fixed on China's, and their own, future.”
—Paul French, author of Midnight in Peking and Fat China
“Rob Schmitz has crafted a deeply empathetic marvel of a book. Alternately poignant and humorous, it has much to offer anyone who has been to Shanghai, thought about going there but not made it yet, or simply wants to get a better feel for the rhythms of life in twenty-first century China.”
—Jeffrey Wasserstrom, editor of the Oxford Illustrated History of Modern China and author of China in the 21st Century
“Authentic, boisterous, convincing, dynamic, energizing, the street stretching on, each window a non-fictional tale more fantastic than the fictional in the dramatic, almost unbelievable transformation of the Chinese society in its contemporary history, narrating with an Ezra Pound-like multiple cultural perspectives and linguistic sensibilities, and leading, eventually, to overwhelming questions. The reading of Street of Eternal Happiness cannot but compel a Shanghai-born Shanghainese like me into another trip back to the city in this global age.”
—Qiu Xiaolong, author of Death of a Red Heroine and Shanghai Redemption
“What a treat to follow Rob Schmitz’s journey into the epic lives of people living in the shadow of China’s most storied city. Their heartache and hope spill from this small corner of Shanghai to the far reaches of modern Chinese history and geography. I’ve walked down this street a hundred times. I’ll never see it the same way again. Schmitz has found a brilliant way to illuminate the big price little people pay for the profound changes reshaping the world’s most populous country.”
—Ching-Ching Ni, former Los Angeles Times Shanghai Bureau Chief, current editor-in-chief of The New York Times Chinese website
“[Schmitz’s] web of characters speaks to his time in the country and his exemplary journalistic abilities… Weaving a gripping narrative peppered with historical facts, he leaves readers with an intimate glimpse into a culture undergoing a complex transformation.”
“In his deliberative, observant journalistic style, Schmitz, the China correspondent for Marketplace, chronicles his interviews and friendships with several of the shop owners on the street where he has lived for some years, plumbing their dreams and capitalist motivations… With each chapter, Schmitz delves deeply into the families’ endurance through the Cultural Revolution and famine and current drive to better themselves. Probing human-interest stories that mine the heart of today's China.”
“[Schmitz] gives his portraits a financial underpinning, which reveals both the sparkle of a dynamic economy and the longtime corruption and ineptitude by China’s central government that have ruined so many millions of lives...A brutally revealing, yet unexpectedly tender, slice of Shanghai life.”
About the Author
ROB SCHMITZ is the Shanghai correspondent for National Public Radio. Previously he was the China correspondent for NPR's Marketplace. He has reported on a range of topics illustrating China's role in the global economy, including trade, politics, the environment, education, and labor. In 2012, Schmitz exposed fabrications in Mike Daisey's account of Apple's Chinese supply chain on This American Life, and his report headlined that show's much-discussed "Retraction" episode. The work was a finalist for the 2012 Investigative Reporters and Editors Award. He has won two national Edward R. Murrow Awards and an award from the Education Writers Association for his reporting on China. Schmitz first arrived to the country in 1996 as a Peace Corps Volunteer in rural Sichuan province. This is his first book.
Try the Kindle edition and experience these great reading features:
Read reviews that mention
Showing 1-8 of 101 reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
I received it the night before a flight to Shanghai, and today I had the chance to visit the street of eternal happiness. As someone who was born and raised in Shanghai, I find myself rediscover this street like for the first time, even though I have been there countless number of times.
What Mr. Schmitz did very well here is that he just plays a role of someone who observes and let the main characters develop their own stories, one can barely notice him, yet he is putting all these together in this remarkable book.
I was at CK's sandwich store today, unable to find CK himself because he was on other assignments (I was told he is having concerts, which, if it is true, doesn't really surprise me because of the fact that he once chose one of Liszt's most famous and difficult pieces to get a job). When I introduced this book to the waitress, she couldn't believe that a complete book is dedicated to such a small street, how can someone write so much for our street?! There's a bookshelf in the store, unfortunately I didn't see this book, I wish I had brought a second copy today so I could leave one there. From my conversation with the waitress and the chef, I have the feeling that they probably know nothing about CK's story, and for all the office workers having quick lunch today, this is just a restaurant like all others.
Except that Mr. Schmitz's book reminds me that it is not, just like all other stories in this book, story like this matters, history matters, a celebration of Chinese life, far from perfect, but it's real.
I feel very fortunate that in today's world there's still journalist like Mr. Schmitz who is working hard to record the history of ordinary people and to preserve the oral history happened in places lost almost in every other platforms.
The author separates chapters by characters and references which chapter is about who by the number of the street they live on. There are a few major narratives which span different generations of Chinese. The author discusses the ambitions of recent a young man and his restaurant which he is funding from an accordion business. The author gives insight into the entrepreneurial spirit of the young generation and their ambitions. The author explores a family who lived through the cultural revolution via letters left in an antique shop. The stories are quite remarkable as the author tracks down the living members to hear their perspective on a history he discovers through old letters. The author also provides the narrative of an aging couple where the wife is constantly trying to get rich quick via financial scams that are in abundance.
The stories in the book weave together to provide the reader with a sense of how China's changes are seen through the lives of its people. One comes out with a sense that some people are left behind and that the change has been so rapid that inevitably people are left out and find it hard to fit in naturally to the new world. The wealth all around people is all too visible and the harm it can do to communities can often be swept under the table. That being said the book isn't negative about China but it does give through human examples how the change can and does cause stresses that can lead to loss of life and that definitely relegates civil liberties to of secondary importance. This book isn't about the growth by the numbers it is about growth from the stories of many people partially left behind