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Book Title: Strange Stones: Dispatches from East and West|
The author of the book: Peter Hessler
Edition: Harper Perennial
Date of issue: May 7th 2013
ISBN: No data
ISBN 13: No data
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 8.36 MB
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Reader ratings: 7.7
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Peter Hessler’s fourth book is a compilation of eighteen essays, most of which appeared in some form in The New Yorker. Each week when my issue of that magazine arrives, I notice first the by-lines. There are certain author names I recognize right away, and I read them first, sometimes even before looking at the cartoons. Peter Hessler is one of those authors.
I became acquainted a dozen years ago with his first book, River Town, which is the story of his years in China as a member of the Peace Corps. His two subsequent books were also about China, primarily about ordinary people into whose lives he delves deeply and sympathetically. It’s wonderful writing. I feel no need to embellish further from that statement.
I picked up this, his fourth book, inspired by a rare opportunity to hear him speak and to attend a Q&A session he held with writing students. His talk was great; so is this book. Besides the essays about China, he includes several essays written upon return to the United States. But it’s the window into China that I crave.
While this book lacks the central focus of his first three, the essays are warm and brilliant observations that add to the impressions of China garnered from the first books. I have a few favorite essays. One, called “Quartet,” details his four traffic accidents in a country with millions of new drivers and no tradition of driving protocol. Another, “Walking the Wall,” profiles several Great Wall-obsessed people (notably American David Spindler) who are part archeologists, part historians, part hikers. “Wild Flavor” takes the reader along to compare two restaurants in China that specialize in serving rat. We have unique views of the new Chinese economy in “Chinese Barbizon” and “Boomtown Girl.”
It would be easy to go on, but – Spoiler Alert! – you will like this narrative non-fiction.
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Read information about the authorPeter Hessler is a staff writer at The New Yorker, where he served as Beijing correspondent from 2000-2007, and is also a contributing writer for National Geographic. He is the author of River Town, which won the Kiriyama Book Prize, and Oracle Bones, which was a finalist for the National Book Award. He won the 2008 National Magazine Award for excellence in reporting.
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