In the heart of China's Sichuan province, amid the terraced hills of the Yangtze River valley, lies the remote town of Fuling. Like many other small cities in this ever-evolving country, Fuling is heading down a new path of change and growth, which came into remarkably sharp focus when Peter Hessler arrived as a Peace Corps volunteer, marking the first time in more than half a century that the city had an American resident. Hessler taught English and American literature at the local college, but it was his students who taught him about the complex processes of understanding that take place when one is immersed in a radically different society.
Poignant, thoughtful, funny, and enormously compelling, River Town is an unforgettable portrait of a city that is seeking to understand both what it was and what it someday will be.
©2006 Peter Hessler (P)2010 Audible, Inc.
"Hessler's writing is lovely. His observations are evocative, insightful, and often poignant--and just as often, funny. It's a pleasure to read of his (mis)adventures. Hessler returned to the U.S. with a new perspective on modern China and its people. After reading River Town, you'll have one, too." (Amazon.com review)
There's always time for reading
I thought this was a good book--well written, well read--but it was written back in the 90s. So much has changed in China in that time, as well as world politics, that I found it very outdated. Also, there's really very little about the Yangtze itself.
If I were doing over, I'd skip it and look for something more current.
Late '90s China through the eyes of an intelligent, thoughtful and disciplined Peace Corp volunteer who taught college English in Fu-Ling, China for 2 years. Never boring. Learned much about Chinese culture and the fears that keep it's people submissive and psychologically imprisoned.. We may all be a bit "imprisoned," but listening to this book made me grateful for our open society in its never ending search for solid truth.
The main problem of this book is that nothing ever happened. There is no story. No highlight. No climax. Just daily observations, almost like a child writing about his daily life. Also the fact that he wrote about his students diaries and essays in detail is quite troubling. Did his students know that he was going to write a book about them when they were taught by him? Doesn't that cross some ethical guideline?
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