Peter Hessler

discusses

Country Driving:
A Chinese Road Trip

Date

Feb
9
Wednesday
February 9, 2011
8:00 PM

Location

Harvard Book Store
1256 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138

Tickets

This event is free; no tickets are required.

Harvard Book Store is glad to welcome The New Yorker's longtime Beijing correspondent PETER HESSLER  as he discusses his latest exploration of everyday life in China, Country Driving: A Chinese Road Trip, newly out in paperback.

In the summer of 2001, Peter Hessler acquired his Chinese driver's license. For the next seven years, he traveled the country, tracking how the automobile and improved roads were transforming China. Hessler writes movingly of the average people—farmers, migrant workers, entrepreneurs—who have reshaped the nation during one of the most critical periods in its modern history.

Country Driving begins with Hessler's 7,000-mile trip across northern China, following the Great Wall, from the East China Sea to the Tibetan plateau. He investigates a historically important rural region being abandoned, as young people migrate to jobs in the southeast. Next Hessler spends six years in Sancha, a small farming village in the mountains north of Beijing, which changes dramatically after the local road is paved and the capital's auto boom brings new tourism. Finally, he turns his attention to urban China, researching development over a period of more than two years in Lishui, a small southeastern city where officials hope that a new government-built expressway will transform a farm region into a major industrial center.

"Hessler...is a keen observer of...mind-catching details and an engaging storyteller. Broken into three sections, Country Driving offers a ground-level mosaic of life amid the nation’s transition into a modern economic and political powerhouse.... Full of exotic detail, solid reporting, and ironic observation, Country Driving offers a personal snapshot of the world’s second superpower hurtling through the 21st century." —The Boston Globe

Peter Hessler
Peter Hessler

Peter Hessler

Peter Hessler is a staff writer at the New Yorker, where he served as Beijing correspondent from 2000-2007 and Cairo correspondent from 2011-2016. He is also a contributing writer for National Geographic. He is the author of River Town, which won the Kiriyama Book Prize, Oracle Bones, which was a finalist for the National Book Award, Country Driving, and Strange Stones. He won the 2008 National Magazine Award for excellence in reporting, and he was named a MacArthur fellow in 2011.

Photo Credit: Darryl Kennedy

Harvard Book Store
1256 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138

Walking from the Harvard Square T station: 2 minutes

As you exit the station, reverse your direction and walk east along Mass. Ave. in front of the Cambridge Savings Bank. Cross Dunster St. and proceed along Mass. Ave for three more blocks. You will pass Au Bon Pain, JP Licks, and TD Bank. Harvard Book Store is located at the corner of Mass. Ave. and Plympton St.

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