Friday, March 19, 2010's Rick Stockfis Interviews Peter Hessler about COUNTRY DRIVING

"I guess the main thing for a writer to do is to think carefully about what interests him, and also where his strengths lie, and try to research accordingly. The thing about China is that no single part of the country tells the whole story. And different writers can do different things. My wife could spend time with the factory girls in the south and develop a level of intimacy that simply wouldn't be possible for me as a white male. But it was easier for me to wander around Lishui, meeting factory owners, technicians, and construction crews. So each of us produced the book that was appropriate to what we could do. My background in the Peace Corps prepared me for writing about smaller cities, so it made sense for me to use this knowledge."