Country Driving is Peter Hessler's engaging account of his travels through China over the past decade - from the fortified towns along the Great Wall in the North, to once-remote villages now undergoing massive change, and finally to the entrepreneurial cities of the south-east, where factory start-ups are a dime a dozen.
This is the story of a nation modernising at a great pace, and of ordinary Chinese caught up in that modernisation. With eloquence and wit Hessler takes us on the road less travelled, showing us a China rarely glimpsed by outsiders.
Brilliant writing! Humorous, personal, thorough and insightful.
Country Driving is a very readable adventure through remote villages and emerging urban areas in a rapidly changing China. Far more than a scenic ride (not a picture book); this is a journey through the turbulent interface of ancient culture breathing in modern influence.
Told with sensitivity and humour, this story carries us through the dramas of characters we meet along the way with the ease of a TV remote surfing through streams of reality SitComs. But nothing is staged, no-one has a script, and there is no director in sight, only hopeful slogans on countless bill boards. As the personalities emerge, you love them or you don't - either way you feel the changes through their experiences.
In three separate journeys, Country Driving first covers around 7,000 miles across Northern China following the Great Wall, starting in the east.
Next, Hessler seeks out a 'writer's retreat' in a small farming village called Sancha, where he spends about six years on and off (from his base in Beijing). During which time, of particular note, we meet the idiot, the shitkicker, and the local party secretary (one of the few women in this role); we experience the trials and joys of young Wei Jia growing up; the business endeavours of his father Wei Ziqi; and the helplessness of his increasingly frustrated mother Cao Chunmei as her hopes and dreams are quietly extinguished one after another.
Finally, we are taken south to find a relatively untouched village in the pathway of progress (in the form of a new government-built expressway). Here we watch urban development transforming the village over a period of just over two years. Of all the migrants attracted to the growing town, you have to love the feisty young Tao Yufeng. As Boss Gao remarked "That girl knows how to get things done." I'm sure you will agree when you find out what he meant.
This book was as enjoyable to read as a good novel.
Random listing from 'Books'...
Adam Equinox was abandoned on the doorstep of Highgate Orphanage 12 years ago. He has no idea who - or where - his parents are; no friends; nothing he's good at; and nowhere he really belongs.
One day, reeling from yet another visit to the principal's office, he notices Cameron Haig's unusual bookmark. It's the entry form for the Quest Golden Opportunity Competition, a competition Adam - along with 40,000 other kids - would love to ... more...
All trademarks, images and copyrights on this site are owned by their respective companies.
KIWIreviews is an independent entity, part of the ePLURIBUS.nz Network. This is a free public forum presenting user opinions on selected products, and as such the views expressed do not necessarily reflect the opinion of KIWIreviews.co.nz and are protected under New Zealand law by the "Honest Opinion" clause of the Defamation Act of 1992. KIWIreviews accepts no liability for statements made on this site, under the assumption that they are the true and honest opinions of the individual posters. In most cases, prices and dates stated are approximate and should be considered as only guidelines.
"It ain't the parts of the Bible that I can't understand that bother me, it is the parts that I do understand."