River Town: Two Years on the Yangtze
In the heart of Chia's Sichuan province lies the small city of Fuling. Surrounded by the terraced hills of the Yangtze River valley, Fuling has long been a place of continuity, far from the bustling political centers of Beijing and Shanghai. But now Fuling is heading down a new path, and gradually, along with scores of other towns in this vast and ever-evolving country, it...more
Peter Hessler, author of River Town, Two Years on the Yangtze, went to China not to check populat ...more
anyway, i used to write a monthly literature review box or our volunteer newsletter, and one month i ranted about this genre. below are my thoughts:
Dissecting the Peace Corps Memoir
One of my least favorite genres of nonfiction is hands-down the “peace corps memoir.” I attribute it to both the f ...more
For those who say that Peter Hessler is a conceited jerk ... mmm, I don't buy that. He makes observations about how rude and petty many of the Chinese people are, and he also fre ...more
I met two of Peter Hessler's Peace Corps comrades in 1996 or 1997 in Xishuangbanna. I remember them telling me about their experiences and frustrations worki ...more
At a public reading, Sedaris made a recommendation for, what he called, someone who can actually write. Oh David Sedaris...
I've read Hessler's "New Yorker" articles and love them. So it didn't come as much surprise that this ended up being good. The funny thing, though, is that even though I was familiar with and appreciated the author, I started the book seriously skeptical. I'm not super-patriotic or anything (if I'm anything "super," it would ...more
Bad: Hessler is an arrogant & condescending jerk who thinks he is being sensitive & understanding, but really isn׳t. I give him a discount because he was young & stupid (despite his Oxford education) when he wrote this. Nonetheless I find the book insufferable when he writes about himself which is way too much ...more
You do need to remember that these events happened 14 years ago in a country that is changing incredibly quickly. Fuling is no longer an isolated city; it is accessible by train, expressway and boat.
If you want to know more about China – and who doesn’t – read this book. Me, I have the second Peter Hessler book published in 2006 to read:
Oracle Bones: A Journey Between China’s Past and Present
August 18, 2003 issue of Time Asia with an update ...more
The story of Peter Hessler’s two year stint (1996-1998?) as a Peace Corps volunteer in Fuling (pop. 200,000) in the Sichuanese hinterlands of China , teaching English at a state-sponsored school to the next generation of Chinese teachers of the English language, reads a bit like a China-based “To Sir with Love.”
It may lack some of the dr ...more
Teaching in China is a totally new world. ...more
This was a great book,entertaining and educational. The author did his best to understand his students,the people of the relatively small Chinese city where he taught, and the political climate.
It was interesting how uncomfortable he and his friend, Adam, were to be the center of attention every time they ventured onto the streets.
I guess he really found out what it is like to be instantly recognizable as an outsider.
I think the Chinese were more sympathetic than I thought they would be to an Am ...more
Hessler was a Peace Corps volunteer in the late 1990’s in a fairly isolated town called Fuling in the Sichuan province of China. This is a good example of a “microhistory” because we see a remote place changing along with the historical sweep of the larger parts of the country. There isn’t even train service: if you want to get anywhere, you go by boat. (Note: There is now a highway). No Americans have been to Fuling in over 50 years; ...more
author gives detailed accounts of complicated conversations he's had with
locals after only learning the language for a year. And here I'm still
struggling with Chinese after being in China for 1 1/2 years. Way to make me
feel like a smuck! Just kidding. In all seriousness, it's a good book. You
can see that there is a concern about the history of the people. Most of his
conversations included ...more
In 1996, Peter Hessler arrived in the river town of Fulan, in the Sichuan province of China. As a Peace Corps volunteer, Hessler had signed on to a two year teaching assignment at a teacher’s college.
Hessler’s experiences and wonderful writing style make for excellent narrative non-fiction. Not only is it entertaining, but you are a ...more
It was, as Orwell would say, a case in which words and meaning had parted company. All that mattered was that students used the correct termininology and the correct political framework as they viewed the world around them.
For the first time I came to understand why literataure so often slides away toward politics. I had struggled with this before; at Princeton I had majored in English, and after graduation I had spent two years studying English la ...more
This is the story of Peter Hessler, an American student, who takes up an English teaching post in a remote town called Fuling where the River Wu meets the Yangtze. Fuling becomes his home for the next two years and here we are treated to a feast of Chinese ...more
more than anything what i appreciated about this book is that it reads as fundamentally honest. sometimes hessler is his better self; at others he's irritated and judgmental as he adjusts to the country. he doesn't sugarcoat his perceptions or cast his behavior as particularly heroic. over time, he revisits opinions.
reading a mid-90s narr ...more