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A New York Times Notable Book

Winner of the Kiriyama Book Prize

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.

Topics: Expat Life, Chinese History, Language, Teachers, Travelogue, Creative Nonfiction, Essays, Contemplative, Heartfelt, Adventurous, Asian History, China, Rural, First Person Narration, and Social Studies

Published: HarperCollins on Jan 1, 1981
ISBN: 9780062028983
List price: $9.99
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Peter Hessler reveals the inner life of Fuling, upriver from the Yangtze, o the River Wu. A small (for China) town of 200,000 situated in a fertile river valley, its economy is sustained by grains, tung oil and lacquer wares. Peter and his friend, Adam, taught English in the Teachers' College to gifted students from peasant families. His efforts to learn Chinese and become acculturated lead to insights and observations about this area, and to some degree, about China's recent history.read more
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Engaging story of a Peace Corps volunteer's two years as a teacher in a remote Chinese city. Looking forward to reading his recent book on China.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Peter Hessler was a Peace Corp volunteer when he spent two years teaching English in Fuling, a Yangtze river town in Sichuan province. This is his well-written and interesting account of the time he spent in the city and traveling around China. I found it an insightful, sympathetic, and illuminating look at the Chinese people and their complex culture. The book is often funny and always interesting. It is a wonderful introduction to China if, like me, you know very little about this important country.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
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Peter Hessler reveals the inner life of Fuling, upriver from the Yangtze, o the River Wu. A small (for China) town of 200,000 situated in a fertile river valley, its economy is sustained by grains, tung oil and lacquer wares. Peter and his friend, Adam, taught English in the Teachers' College to gifted students from peasant families. His efforts to learn Chinese and become acculturated lead to insights and observations about this area, and to some degree, about China's recent history.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Engaging story of a Peace Corps volunteer's two years as a teacher in a remote Chinese city. Looking forward to reading his recent book on China.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Peter Hessler was a Peace Corp volunteer when he spent two years teaching English in Fuling, a Yangtze river town in Sichuan province. This is his well-written and interesting account of the time he spent in the city and traveling around China. I found it an insightful, sympathetic, and illuminating look at the Chinese people and their complex culture. The book is often funny and always interesting. It is a wonderful introduction to China if, like me, you know very little about this important country.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Among the first group of Peace Corps volunteers allowed in China after the Cultural Revolution, English teacher Peter Hessler is stationed in the remote city of Fujian. Hessler writes about being a foreigner in a recently opened country in an engaging way, but he devotes most of the book to the haunting stories of his students and Chinese friends. The book is marred by a few overly poetic, italicized passages that don't fit in with the rest of the work, but on the whole, this is a beautiful book.
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excellent rendition of expatriate experience working and living with mainland Chinese.
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River Town by Peter Hessler is a good story and being able to relate to it as a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer makes it even better. Hessler tells his story of two years of Peace Corps service living in a small city on the Yangtze River. Hessler tells his story well and is able to weave in the thoughts and emotions of the storyline without distracting the reader. Its often difficult to relate living in a different country to people who may not ever have been to that country but Hessler does it with skill by slowly adding thoughts and insights as the story progressed. He also does an excellent job of describing certain aspects of living abroad such as perception of one's home country as well as learning the local language and customs. Although the average reader may never visit Fuling, China, they can be taken there with this book.
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