Sandra's Reviews > Oracle Bones: A Journey Between China's Past and Present

Oracle Bones by Peter Hessler
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May 06, 2008

really liked it
bookshelves: girls-a-boy
Read in May, 2008

This is a book I would never had picked up but I am surprised by how much I enjoyed it.

Hessler journeys between China's past and present through the parallel stories of oracle bones (pieces of bone used in royal divination and some of the first chinese writings in history),3 the students he once taught in his english class in China and other Chinese people he meets along the way. It is very interesting to follow the lives of his 3 students and the hardships they face as young migrant workers in China. Through the story of the oracle bones, Hessler researches China's past mainly around the Cultural Revolution and Mao. This review sounds confusing but the story is better organized and more engaging than it sounds. Basically, by telling this story through personal narrative, Hessler is able to put a human face on China's past and present. By putting in anecdotes, personal stories, letters, trivial facts about China and historical facts, Hessler keeps the story moving along while at the same time keeping readers engaged and interested.

I've learned a lot about China and this book has really sparked my interest in learning more about this mysterious and often misinterpreted country.
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