River Town: Two Years on the Yangtze.pdf

River Town: Two Years on the Yangtze.pdf
 

书籍描述

编辑推荐
Amazon.com Review
In 1996, 26-year-old Peter Hessler arrived in Fuling, a town on China's Yangtze River, to begin a two-year Peace Corps stint as a teacher at the local college. Along with fellow teacher Adam Meier, the two are the first foreigners to be in this part of the Sichuan province for 50 years. Expecting a calm couple of years, Hessler at first does not realize the social, cultural, and personal implications of being thrust into a such radically different society. In River Town: Two Years on the Yangtze, Hessler tells of his experience with the citizens of Fuling, the political and historical climate, and the feel of the city itself.

"Few passengers disembark at Fuling ... and so Fuling appears like a break in a dream--the quiet river, the cabins full of travelers drifting off to sleep, the lights of the city rising from the blackness of the Yangtze," says Hessler. A poor city by Chinese standards, the students at the college are mainly from small villages and are considered very lucky to be continuing their education. As an English teacher, Hessler is delighted with his students' fresh reactions to classic literature. One student says of Hamlet, "I don't admire him and I dislike him. I think he is too sensitive and conservative and selfish." Hessler marvels,

You couldn't have said something like that at Oxford. You couldn't simply say: I don't like Hamlet because I think he's a lousy person. Everything had to be more clever than that ... you had to dismantle it ... not just the play itself but everything that had ever been written about it.
Over the course of two years, Hessler and Meier learn more they ever guessed about the lives, dreams, and expectations of the Fuling people.

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. --Dana Van Nest --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly
In China, the year 1997 was marked by two momentous events: the death of Deng Xiaoping, the country's leader for two decades, and the return of Hong Kong after a century and a half of British rule. A young American who spent two years teaching English literature in a small town on the Yangtze, Hessler observed these events through two sets of eyes: his own and those of his alter ego, Ho Wei. Hessler sees China's politics and ceremony with the detachment of a foreigner, noting how grand political events affect the lives of ordinary people. The passing of Deng, for example, provokes a handful of thoughtful and unexpected essays from Hessler's students. The departure of the British from Hong Kong sparks a conversational "Opium War" between him and his nationalist Chinese tutor. Meanwhile, Ho Wei, as Hessler is known to most of the townspeople, adopts a friendly and unsophisticated persona that allows him to learn the language and culture of his surroundings even as Hessler's Western self remains estranged. The author conceives this memoir of his time in China as the collaborative effort of his double identity. "Ho Wei," he writes, "left his notebooks on the desk of Peter Hessler, who typed everything into his computer. The notebooks were the only thing they truly shared." Yet it's clear that, for Hessler, Ho Wei is more than a literary device: to live in China, he felt compelled to subjugate his real identity to a character role. Hessler has already been assured the approval of a select audience thanks to the New Yorker's recent publication of an excerpt. (Feb.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal
This moving, mesmerizing memoir recounts Hessler's two years as a Peace Corps volunteer teaching English in the city of Fuling, located in the heart of China. Before Hessler's arrival, no one in Fuling had seen a foreigner for 50 years. Hessler was rudely thrust into this forbidden land, completely isolated from the world as we know it. Armed with astute powers of observation, acute sensitivity to cultural differences, and a good command of Chinese, he explores the culture, politics, traditions, and ideas of a people completely unknown and mysterious to the Western World. Hessler also watches as the cityDtorn between tradition and the onslaught of modern timesDreacts to the death of Deng Xiaoping, the return of Hong Kong to the mainland, and the inevitable construction of the Three Gorges Dam on its beloved, and sacred, Yangtze River. This touching memoir of an American dropped into the center of China transcends the boundaries of the travel genre and will appeal to anyone wanting to learn more about the heart and soul of the Chinese people. Highly recommended.
-DMelinda Stivers Leach, Precision Editorial Svcs., Wondervu, CO
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist
American Peter Hessler arrives in Fuling, an industrial town on the Yangtze River in communist China. He teaches English and literature at a local college, where he is viewed as waiguoron, or foreigner, someone who must be viewed with suspicion and preferably at a distance. He gradually is able to break through some of the obstacles and form friendships with a number of locals. Hessler is in China during a time of tremendous internal change--the death of Deng Xiaoping, the return of Hong Kong from Great Britain to China, and the Three Gorges Project. He describes some frightening times. Once a band of local Chinese police visited him in the middle of the night. He and his fellow worker Adam unwittingly attract and then incite a hostile local crowd. Then there is the sheer physical discomfort of spending much of 50 hours standing on a Chinese train. This is a colorful memoir from a Peace Corps volunteer who came away with more understanding of the Chinese than any foreign traveler has a right to expect. Marlene Chamberlain
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review
'Written with great clarity and affection, River Town should be read by anyone with any interest in finding the Chinese less inscrutable' -- The Times 'If you read only one book about China, let it be this' -- Jonathan Mirsky 'Hessler's account superbly captures the spirit of a country in which he is an invader, albeit welcomed, understanding rather than merely describing it and, with consummate skill and literary style, bringing it alive in all its mesmerising complexity' -- Martin Booth, Sunday Times 'To come across a Westerner patient enough and tolerant enough to try to understand the immense, exasperating and ultimately lovable entity that is China is always a pleasure. To encounter one who is as literate and sensitive as Peter Hessler is a joy. This tender, intelligent account of two years spent teaching deep in the country's heart is the work of a writer of rare talent: it deserves to become a classic' -- Simon Winchester 'Studded with insight and humility, written with unshowy elegance, River Town is about ways of seeing' -- Daily Telegraph

In 1996, Peter Hessler left the cloisters of Oxford and Princeton, where he had studied, and travelled to Fuling, in central China, expecting to spend a couple of tranquil years teaching English. What he experienced - the natural beauty, the cultural tensions, the complex (but ultimately rewarding) process of understanding the 'inscrutable' Chinese - surpassed anything he could have imagined. He saw first-hand how major events - the death of Deng Xiaoping, the return of Hong Kong to China, the controversial construction of the Three Gorges Dam - affected the people he was living among. Literate, sensitive and with deep affection for its subject, this is an instant classic of travel writing, in an age of superfluous travel books. Hessler goes to great pains to stress that this is not a book about the Chinese - it is, he says, a book about 'a certain small part of China at a certain brief period in time'. Still, one is bound to draw conclusions (largely positive conclusions) about the nation as a whole. More than a few stereotypes concerning the Chinese are (thankfully) laid to rest in this book, while others are humorously indulged ('for the Long March Singing Contest, all of the departments practised their songs for weeks and then performed in the auditorium. Many of the songs were the same, because the musical potential of the Long March is limited.'). Hessler's own experiences of life in Fuling are interspersed with broader social and historical sketches, reflecting the two roles a foreign resident plays in China, 'sometimes an observer, at other moments very much involved in local life... this combination of distance and intimacy was part of what shaped my two years in Sichuan'. And what shapes this book, one might add. Hessler is an outsider, but he is made to feel welcome. Six years after he first came to China, he was still living there, albeit in Beijing rather than Fuling. (Kirkus UK)

媒体推荐
'Written with great clarity and affection, River Town should be read by anyone with any interest in finding the Chinese less inscrutable' -- The Times 'If you read only one book about China, let it be this' -- Jonathan Mirsky 'Hessler's account superbly captures the spirit of a country in which he is an invader, albeit welcomed, understanding rather than merely describing it and, with consummate skill and literary style, bringing it alive in all its mesmerising complexity' -- Martin Booth, Sunday Times 'To come across a Westerner patient enough and tolerant enough to try to understand the immense, exasperating and ultimately lovable entity that is China is always a pleasure. To encounter one who is as literate and sensitive as Peter Hessler is a joy. This tender, intelligent account of two years spent teaching deep in the country's heart is the work of a writer of rare talent: it deserves to become a classic' -- Simon Winchester 'Studded with insight and humility, written with unshowy elegance, River Town is about ways of seeing' -- Daily Telegraph

In 1996, Peter Hessler left the cloisters of Oxford and Princeton, where he had studied, and travelled to Fuling, in central China, expecting to spend a couple of tranquil years teaching English. What he experienced - the natural beauty, the cultural tensions, the complex (but ultimately rewarding) process of understanding the 'inscrutable' Chinese - surpassed anything he could have imagined. He saw first-hand how major events - the death of Deng Xiaoping, the return of Hong Kong to China, the controversial construction of the Three Gorges Dam - affected the people he was living among. Literate, sensitive and with deep affection for its subject, this is an instant classic of travel writing, in an age of superfluous travel books. Hessler goes to great pains to stress that this is not a book about the Chinese - it is, he says, a book about 'a certain small part of China at a certain brief period in time'. Still, one is bound to draw conclusions (largely positive conclusions) about the nation as a whole. More than a few stereotypes concerning the Chinese are (thankfully) laid to rest in this book, while others are humorously indulged ('for the Long March Singing Contest, all of the departments practised their songs for weeks and then performed in the auditorium. Many of the songs were the same, because the musical potential of the Long March is limited.'). Hessler's own experiences of life in Fuling are interspersed with broader social and historical sketches, reflecting the two roles a foreign resident plays in China, 'sometimes an observer, at other moments very much involved in local life... this combination of distance and intimacy was part of what shaped my two years in Sichuan'. And what shapes this book, one might add. Hessler is an outsider, but he is made to feel welcome. Six years after he first came to China, he was still living there, albeit in Beijing rather than Fuling. (Kirkus UK)

作者简介
Peter Hessler is a graduate of Princeton and Oxford, and has written for The New Yorker, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Atlantic Monthly and other publications. Raised in the United States, he now lives in Beijing.

目录
Part I: downstream; the city; Shakespeare with Chinese characteristics; raise the flag mountain; running; the white crane ridge; the dam; the Wu River; opium wars; white flat mountain; storm. Part II: summer; the priest; Chinese life; the restaurant owner; money; the teacher; Chinese new year; the land; spring again; the river; upstream.

内容简介
When Peter Hessler went to China in the late 1990s, he expected to spend a couple of peaceful years teaching English in the town of Fuling on the Yangtze River. But what he experienced - the natural beauty, cultural tension, and complex process of understanding that takes place when one is thrust into a radically different society - surpassed anything he could have imagined. Hessler observes firsthand how major events such as the death of Deng Xiaoping, the return of Hong Kong to the mainland, and the controversial consturction of the Three Gorges Dam have affected even the people of a remote town like Fuling. Poignant, thoughtful and utterly compelling, "River Town" is an unforgettable portrait of a place caught mid-river in time, much like China itself - a country seeking to understand both what it was and what it will one day become.

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