Strange Stones by Peter Hessler
Dispatches from East and West

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The pieces here can be read in order, or dipped into at random. Each has something interesting to say about China’s rich history and its fascinating present.
-Star Tribune

Synopsis

Full of unforgettable figures and an unrelenting spirit of adventure, Strange Stones is a far-ranging, thought-provoking collection of Peter Hessler’s best reportage—a dazzling display of the powerful storytelling, shrewd cultural insight, and warm sense of humor that are the trademarks of his work.

Over the last decade, as a staff writer for The New Yorker and the author of three books, Peter Hessler has lived in Asia and the United States, writing as both native and knowledgeable outsider in these two very different regions. This unusual perspective distinguishes Strange Stones, which showcases Hessler’s unmatched range as a storyteller. “Wild Flavor” invites readers along on a taste test between two rat restaurants in South China. One story profiles Yao Ming, basketball star and China’s most beloved export, another David Spindler, an obsessive and passionate historian of the Great Wall. In “Dr. Don,” Hessler writes movingly about a small-town pharmacist and his relationship with the people he serves.

While Hessler’s subjects and locations vary, subtle but deeply important thematic links bind these pieces—the strength of local traditions, the surprising overlap between apparently opposing cultures, and the powerful lessons drawn from individuals who straddle different worlds.

 

About Peter Hessler

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Peter Hessler is a staff writer at The New Yorker, where he served as the Beijing correspondent from 2000 to 2007, and is also a contributing writer for National Geographic. He is the author of River Town, which won the Kiriyama Book Prize, and Oracle Bones, which was a finalist for the National Book Award. He won the 2008 National Magazine Award for excellence in reporting.
 
Published May 7, 2013 by Harper Perennial. 371 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Political & Social Sciences, Travel, Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for Strange Stones
All: 3 | Positive: 2 | Negative: 1

Kirkus

Good
on Jan 29 2013

A collection of personal essays and profiles that reveal the wonders and woes of the East....A rich, vibrant collection that pries wide the door to the East, welcoming Western readers inside.

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WSJ online

Above average
Reviewed by Mara Hvistendahl on May 08 2013

...he has trouble eliciting larger themes. Very occasionally, his fondness for minutiae is distracting.

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Star Tribune

Excellent
Reviewed by Kevin Canfield on May 18 2013

The pieces here can be read in order, or dipped into at random. Each has something interesting to say about China’s rich history and its fascinating present.

Read Full Review of Strange Stones: Dispatches fr... | See more reviews from Star Tribune

Reader Rating for Strange Stones
89%

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