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Oracle Bones: A Journey Between China and the West

Oracle Bones: A Journey Between China and the West

Hardback

By (author) Peter Hessler

List price $31.33

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  • Publisher: John Murray Publishers Ltd
  • Format: Hardback | 512 pages
  • Dimensions: 161mm x 242mm x 41mm | 889g
  • Publication date: 24 April 2006
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 0719564409
  • ISBN 13: 9780719564406
  • Illustrations note: b/w illustrations
  • Sales rank: 1,300,798

Product description

Oracle Bones tells its engaging and compelling story through the lives of a handful of ordinary people. The author himself is a Westerner, a journalist living in Beijing. The narrative tracks his story along with that of Polat, a trader and member of a forgotten ethnic minority, who moves to the West in search of political freedom and a new life; William Jefferson Foster, who grew up in an illiterate family in a remote village; Emily, a migrant factory worker in a city without a past; and Chen Mengjia, a scholar of oracle-bone inscriptions -- the earliest known writing in East Asia -- and a man whose mysterious story has been lost since his suicide forty years ago, at the beginning of the Cultural Revolution. All of them are migrants, emigrants, or wanderers who find themselves far from home, their lives dramatically changed by historical forces they are struggling to understand. Hessler excavates the past in search of meaning, his intimate approach putting a remarkable human face on the history he uncovers. With him we discover not only where the great, influential cultures of East and West intersect, but also how the conjunction of past and present creates today's China -- and how people create meaning out of chaotic world events.

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Author information

Peter Hessler is a correspondent for The New Yorker and a contributor to National Geographic. He is the author of River Town, published in both hardback and paperback by John Murray and winner of the 2001 Kiriyama Pacific Rim Book Prize. Raised in Columbia, Missouri, he now lives in Beijing.

Review quote

'A remarkable travelogue documenting aspects of a country still little understood' -- Kirkus Reviews 20060301 'Hessler gets the stories that no one talks about and delivers them in a personal study that informs, entertains, and mesmerizes. Everyone in the Western world should read this book' -- Publisher's Weekly 20060227 Praise for River Town: 20060227 'Written with great clarity and affection, River Town should be read by anyone with an interest in finding the Chinese less inscrutable' -- The Times 20060227 'Hessler's account superbly captures the spirit of a country in which he is an invader, albeit welcomed, understanding rather than merely describing it and, with consummate skill and literary style, bringing it alive in all its mesmerising complexity' -- Sunday Times 20060227 'To come across a Westerner patient enough and tolerant enough to try and understand the immense, exasperating and ultimately lovable entity that is China is always a pleasure. To encounter one that is as literate and sensitive as Peter Hessler is a joy' -- Simon Winchester 20060227 'Studded with insight and humility, written with unshowy elegance, River Town is about ways of seeing' -- Daily Telegraph 20060227 'One of the most profoundly original books about China' -- The Economist 20060520 'His latest book, Oracle Bones, the much anticipated follow-up to his acclaimed debut, River Town, lays bare a rapidly evolving China through his often bizarre encounters with the engines of its social changes.' -- South China Morning Post 20060528 'Extensive travel around China with occasional flits back home to the U.S., combine with some fascinating speculation on the origins of Chinese civilisation and how the remote past impinges on the present' -- China Review 20060501 'Dip into ! You will be hooked' -- International Herald Tribune 20060429 'An epic tome written with intimate feeling, which really brings alive the reality of today's China.' -- The Good Book Guide 20060501 'A brilliant tapestry of ancient and modern China' -- Spectator 20060624 'He ranges widely and, in doing so, illustrates how Chinese history accumulates' -- Mick Herron, Geographical Magazine 20060601 'Valuable for its necklace of vignettes -- poignant, comic, and weird' -- Jonathan Mirsky, Literary Review 20060501 '[An] extraordinary survey of contemporary China!really quite unforgettable' -- The Observer 20060820