Monday, October 19, 2009

Peter Hessler's COUNTRY DRIVING gets a starred PW Review


About Peter's third book, to be published in the US and Canada by Harper next February, PW writes: "In his latest feat of penetrating social reportage, New Yorker writer Hessler (Oracle Bones) again proves himself America's keenest observer of the New China. Hessler investigates the country's lurch into modernity through three engrossing narratives. In an epic road trip following the Great Wall across northern China, he surveys dilapidated frontier outposts from the imperial past while barely surviving the advent of the nation's uniquely terrifying car culture. He probes the transformation of village life through the saga of a family of peasants trying to remake themselves as middle-class entrepreneurs. Finally, he explores China's frantic industrialization, embodied by the managers and workers at a fly-by-night bra-parts factory in a Special Economic Zone. Hessler has a sharp eye for contradictions, from the absurdities of Chinese drivers' education courses—low-speed obstacle courses are mandatory, while seat belts and turn signals are deemed optional—to the leveling of an entire mountain to make way for the Renli Environmental Protection Company. Better yet, he has a knack for finding the human-scale stories that make China's vast upheavals both comprehensible and moving. The result is a fascinating portrait of a society tearing off into the future with only the sketchiest of maps. (Feb.)"

Also, in the October 26th issue of THE NEW YORKER is Peter's "Letter from Lishui: Chinese Barbizon: A factory town's "art village." There's a wonderful slideshow of photographs by Peter and his friend Mark Leong on the magazine site here.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

FRANKFURT: Berlin Verlag Features COUNTRY DRIVING by Peter Hessler as Lead Title

COUNTRY DRIVING is the lead display at Berlin Verlag's stand here in Frankfurt!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

John Woods Reviews SOUL OF A PEOPLE by David Taylor on Peace Corps Worldwide

"... this book brings together the stories and history of arguably an important piece of our twentieth century cultural heritage along with insights into what life was like during the depression. For this reason alone, it is worth reading, but beyond that, any aspiring writer should appreciate that even for the great writers, things didn’t always come easily."

Read Bonnie Tsui's Article on Touring the Navaho Nation in the Observer (UK)