River Town: Two Years on the Yangtze
In the heart of China'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, i...more
Peter Hessler, author of River Town, Two Years on the Yangtze, went to China not to check populat ...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
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
Here's the review to read, from the NY Times in 2001:
"The China that Hessler portrays in ''River Town,'' his finely drawn memoir of two years in Fuling, is a place on the knife-edge between stasis and change, where centuries-old certainties can vanish in a single revolutionary instant. Much has already been buried by the rising tides of the past century, and much ...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
I have just finished listening to this book in the audible version on January 10, 2021. This is 10 1/2 years after I first ...more
He is finding his feet in China, where he is teaching English in the town of Fuling, at the confluence of the Yangtze and Wu Rivers, in the Chongqing Municipality. Employed by the Peace Corps, Hessler is paid a relatively low wage, which, amongst other things, makes his conversation with the Chinese interesting, as their expectation is that he would be earning much more. Hessler spent two years in Fuling.
Hessler approached his writing ...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 of the time. ...more
This in itself is an act deserve admiration and love from reader
When you read, your admiration is deepened as you finding him to be a passionate explorer of the country he came to offer his selfless service He studies the people, scenery , history, the strength and weakness , the problems that families and individuals dealing with from day to day.
He has a keen observation of people behaviors under normal as well as unusual situat ...more
Hessler is an excellent writer and I look forward to reading more of hi ...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
As someone who grew up in China, I’m impressed by how Peter Hessler observes and chronicles his Peace Corps volunteer years in China. Although it was in the mid-90s, a lot of core things are still very much relevant today.
I do think this book might be more enjoyable for “foreigners” who have visited or lived in China, or Ch ...more
…hoping for some excellent writing by a author
who contributed to The New Yorker.
That is where I discovered Hessler in 2017.
Unfortunately Hessler wrote this book soon after college (2006)
and it reads like that.
I became very bored with the book and
ended up skimming 50% of the book.
Good news…Hessler’s writing has gotten better
...but not in this book.
3 stars is the most I can offer, and that is because it is
...a nice day out and I'm in a good mood.
If it were rai ...more
At the beginning of the story,
Peter came to Fuling, China to teach the student that is in college English. The town is old and dirty, the road is steep and there is no way to get around except by boat. There has a river, called Yangtze River. It’s clear and cold. Everyone in Yangtze love this river. The students is studious and want to learn. Through them, Peter learn about Chinese and the Ch ...more