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Encounters with Chinese Writers

3.77  ·  Rating details ·  177 ratings  ·  18 reviews
Winner of the New England Book Show Award

It's been a pilgrimage for Annie Dillard: from Tinker Creek to the Galapagos Islands, the high Arctic, the Pacific Northwest, the Amazon Jungle--and now, China. This informative narrative is full of fascinating people: Chinese people, mostly writers, who encounter American writers in various bizarre circumstances in both China and t
Paperback, 117 pages
Published September 1st 1984 by Wesleyan
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3.77  · 
Rating details
 ·  177 ratings  ·  18 reviews

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Charlie Shifflett
Feb 08, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, china
This was perhaps the first China-related book I ever read. It was part of our assigned reading in a creative nonfiction class during my college years -- probably two years before I moved to Beijing, where I ended up living for six years. It's a spare volume containing beautiful observations about culture, writing and society.
Reyna Eisenstark
Jul 05, 2016 rated it liked it
A tiny little book of essays about a time in 1983 when Dillard and other American writers met with Chinese writers in China and the U.S. A funny little glimpse into a cultural exchange, which briefly includes Allen Ginsberg playing a small accordian-like instrument.
Nov 29, 2009 rated it really liked it
A wonderful, interesting look at China, writers, and Communism.
Dec 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
A book that proves that all literary artists are weird. And it's a good thing.
As other reviewers have remarked, not her best work, but nonetheless thought provoking and enjoyable. She cautions the reader that she is not an expert on China, which is wise, because many of her experiences provoke the need for conclusions. Since this book is more about her interactions with Chinese literati, the Cultural Revolution (and by extension, Maoism) is essentially the topic of this book. One interesting account follows an Italian-born journalist for Der Spiegal who remarks on how ver ...more
Arun Croll
Feb 17, 2015 rated it really liked it
AnnieDillard hung out with some Chinese literary writers. This book is a collection of anecdotes about moments of cultural conflict related to nationalism, filial piety, individualism, communism, perceptions of Americans, and the political functions (and failures) of literature. It's funny and though provoking and short. I liked it.


"In the fall of 1983, the winds will shift again; the Party will launch a new rectification campaign to rid Chinese literature of three evils: humanism, existe
Jul 30, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I've really enjoyed this author in the past, but this book was a disappointment. Although in her introduction the author acknowledges that the book is not meant to be an in-depth treatment of the subject, its lack of insight was notable enough to make me wonder why she bothered publishing it.
Matt Moran
Jun 27, 2016 rated it liked it
This is a short book, relatively narrow in its scope, and it does not have the obvious brilliance of 'Pilgrim at Tinker Creek' or "Holy The Firm.' But I didn't know Annie Dillard could be so straight forward. Delightful.
Aug 08, 2012 rated it really liked it
Painless learning about China, with illumination of our own culture at a particular point in time. I'm crazy about Dillard's writing and this did not disappoint.
Sep 18, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015-reads
I love Annie Dillard's writing, and her perceptions about first, her trip to China in the 1970s, and then the visits of Chinese writers to the USA later was enlightening.
Dec 01, 2008 marked it as to-read
I think I've read bits of this... maybe at a bookstore. God bless the comfy chairs at Barnes & Noble.
Dec 07, 2009 rated it really liked it
Short essays in Dillard's inimitable style about travels to China by American authors, Dillard included, and to America by Chinese authors.
Jul 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Lovely read.
Apr 07, 2011 rated it it was amazing
My bias, but I like how she described the Chinese culture without being judgmental.

Very funny and memorable episodes.

Is it me or she seemed to have a crush on a female writer?
Jan 21, 2011 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Corrine Brue
Quick read, VERY interesting view of Chinese and American writers. A bit dated, I'm sure, since it was published in 1984, but lively and enjoyable.
Apr 20, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Anything Annie Dillard writes tends to fascinate and challenge me. I'm really glad I stumbled on this book in the back stacks of the library.
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Annie Dillard (born April 30, 1945) is an American author, best known for her narrative prose in both fiction and non-fiction. She has published works of poetry, essays, prose, and literary criticism, as well as two novels and one memoir. Her 1974 work Pilgrim at Tinker Creek won the 1975 Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction. Dillard taught for 21 years in the English department of Wesleyan Unive ...more