A Chinese Road Trip
February 9, 2011
Harvard Book Store
1256 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138
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
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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