Reader reviews and comments on River Town, plus links to write your own review.

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River Town

by Peter Hessler

River Town by Peter Hessler X
River Town by Peter Hessler
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  • First Published:
    Jan 2001, 416 pages
    Dec 2001, 416 pages

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There are currently 12 reader reviews for River Town
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Rockne Porter

I am an American business man who has been involved in China projects for fourteen years. Recently I read River Town and I recommend for any one planning to do business in China.

Few foreigners have the opportunity to witness life in Fueling and the surrounding remote country side and I believe that Peter Hessler is almost unique in the level of comprehension and insight that he has achieved. The scenic descriptions are excellent but it is Hessler's keen observations of people that make the book important. Many of these are about students and faculty at the college where he taught but also included are peasants, river boat passengers, restaurant workers and entrepreneurs. There are many others and each reflects the pragmatic strength required to survive and hope in this wealth scarce backward region of the country. I believe that foreign business people will find River Town a valuable source of anthropological information helpful for all parts of China.
Simon Feng

I am a Chinese living in American and I really enjoy this book. I grew up in city of Guangdong province and educated in Xian, a city in the northwest of China. For me, the people in this book seams very familiar most of the time to me and sometime not quite the same comparing to the areas I have been fifteen years ago. I recognize that as a regional difference among the cities in China. But overall, I like the way the author describing the ordinary people with his honesty and respect and I am so surprised to know a western writer can understand our Chinese people so well, sometimes better than me. I hope Peter enjoys his life in China as a writer. For me, he is a real “Peace Corp” member, or you can say, peacemaker. Forget the politics and the government propaganda, Peter and other peace making adventurers come to a place totally remote from his hometown, learn their language and understand their culture and show them to the world. If the world has more people like this, there will be a lot more understanding between countries or people, there will be less wars between people or countries.

I am a Chinese living in the US. The book's vivid description of a small Sichuan city brings back a lot of memories about my hometown in Hunan, another southern province which is also famous for its spicy, spicy food and suffers a lot from the floods of the Yangtze almost every year. It is very interesting to see how much sincerity and efforts the author has made to undersand the local people and the Chinese culture. And as a person living in a foreign country, I myself also feel the frustration and happiness the author feels. I would like to take this as a somehow universal fact, although China is indeed a country which has been isolated from the outside world for so long. Thanks to the author for such great work, it brings me lots of laughs and sometimes even tears.
Renee Chen

Beautifully written and extremely funny. I couldn't put it down once I started reading. I have rarely seen any writer depict Chinese characters so precisely, including native Chinese writers.
George Bath

As someone who is currently living and teaching English in China, I was astounded by the accuracy and brilliance of this book. Peter Hessler has captured the life of a foreigner (or Waiguoren) in small-town China perfectly and has inspired me to learn more about my surroundings, rather than just observe them.
An emotional and exciting read!
Kevin Coole

This is a most riveting portrait of contempory China. I was completely absorbed in the tales and observations.
John Swanson

I am a sinophile and have visited China several times. My wife is Chinese so I live with the culture on a daily basis. The story in this book was interesting but more interesting was that the author picked up on every nuance of the culture and described it accurately.

If you're interested in contemporary Chinese culture this book is well worth your time. Don't hurry through it, not much happens.

This is a great book. Once you start it, it is hard to put down. I am planning a trip to china and picked up this book by mistake.I wish all my mistakes were as wonderful as this one.
What great phrases -bei means white and north,the common people-Old Hundred Names,what am I talking about ---you must read this book!!
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