A century ago, outsiders saw China as a place where nothing ever changes. Today, the country has become one of the most dynamic regions on earth. In Oracle Bones, Peter Hessler explores the human side of China's transformation, viewing modern-day China and its growing links to the Western world through the lives of a handful of ordinary people. In a narrative that gracefully moves between the ancient and the present, the East and the West, Hessler captures the soul of a country that is undergoing a momentous change before our eyes.
©2007 Peter Hessler (P)2010 Audible, Inc.
“A brilliant observer with a novelist’s ear for character and dialogue, Hessler is both fascinating and funny.” (Entertainment Weekly)
“A remarkable travelogue documenting aspects of a country still little understood.” (Kirkus)
“Engaging.... Acutely observed, moving, frequently funny and a perspicacious X-ray of China’s zeitgeist.” (South China Morning Post)
Been on/off with Audible since '07, when I found myself long-term in China, desperate for English language books. Love a good story.
This book was recommended to me by another China-lover, who had also spent a decent amount of time there. It was dry, and that was tough for me, but the narrator also butchers many pronunciations of Chinese words, and even to my American ear, it was painful. I bought this book ignoring the warnings, thinking those must be people who are very fluent. (I have taken about 2.5 years of Mandarin Chinese courses and spent a few months there years back.) But no, if you've ever studied Chinese, his narration will drive you INSANE. If you haven't, well then, you might enjoy this saga of new and old China.
See above as well; I recommend it for the history and present-day juxtaposition of China. That's why I was interested. I found it too dull for my liking. If you've spent time studying the language, beware of this narration.
Yes, so long as it's not a book heavily based in an Asian nation.
Hessler writes a wide ranging and incisive account of China at the turn of the 21st century. He is able to present much of the dystopian craziness of China while still humanizing individuals that he encounters. The narrator, however brings the book down. His reading of Hessler's narration and thoughts is fine, and his mispronunciation of Chinese (i.e. Mao Zhidong) is forgivable, but his "Chinese" voice is truly awful and distracting from the narrative.
Teach Chinese instead of teaching English.
Insufferable condescending tone when referring to the Chinese or China and absolutely incomprehensible pronunciation of the Chinese words
First Chapter -- the only chapter I read.
I have read hundreds of books about China. In general, those written by Chinese are the best. Those written by Western academics are acceptable but are still often unenlightened and carry the baggage of Western bias. Those written by Western journalists are several rungs below the academics. These writers are usually poorly educated (a la Sarah Palin) and have very little interesting to say. Those written by American teaching English in China are generally unreadable like this book. They are usually written to make a buck and leave the reader less educated than when they began. I think the reason for the last may be that the Chinese students' traditional respect for teachers, good or bad, may have swelled these English teachers heads.
I had just finish listening, on my daily run, Ji Chauzhu's excellent autobiography as the English translator for Mao; and had to suffer through the first Chapter of this book. Instead of doubling the distance of my run every day, I had to cut short of my run today to write this review. I don't think I have the stomach to continue listening. Peter Hessler’s first chapter betrayed a deep disrespect for the Chinese people and for China. The narrator’s condescending tone and lack of effort to pronounce the Chinese words accurately makes the problem worse. When Peter Hessler started sneering at the Nanjing Holocaust and the Nanjing Holocaust Museum, I decided one chapter was enough. If the Jews in American weren’t so vocal, I think Peter Hessler would have sneered at the Jewish Holocaust as well.
Narrator used an Irish accent to simulate a Chinese speaker, made this unbearable. I tried listening to more but it made me sick.
The narrator's fake accent.
Truly a bad accent...why have one at all?
content may have had some accuracy, but, I couldn't listen to it anymore.
The author only look at one side of facts and dismiss all others. A very narrow view of the true civilization of the Chinese historical development and purport that none of the artifacts proved anything but the western biased perspective.
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