‘Sitting behind the wheel woke me up…in Beijing alone, almost a thousand new drivers registered on average each day, the pioneers of a nationwide auto boom. Most of them came from the growing middle class, for whom a car represented mobility, prosperity, modernity. For me, it meant adventure.’
Country Driving is Peter Hessler’s engaging account of his travels through China over the past decade—from the fortified towns along the Great Wall in the north, to near-inaccessible hilltop towns and the entrepreneurial cities of the south-east, where factory start-ups are a dime a dozen. This is the story of a nation modernising at great pace, and of ordinary Chinese caught up in that modernisation. With eloquence and wit Hessler takes us on the road less travelled, showing us a China rarely glimpsed by outsiders.
‘I learned far more about China overnight from Peter Hessler’s wonderful book—and far more enjoyably—than from my ten years of journeys there. Hessler’s not just a boon companion through the byways of the far north, a decade of village life and China’s raw provincial commercialism; he bares the country’s heart and soul with grace, humour and rare modesty.’
‘A wild, disquieting ride through the backroads of the new China…In these pages a society transforming itself at breathless speed is uncovered.’
‘Hessler again proves himself America’s keenest observer of the New China.’
‘The New Yorker’s former Beijing correspondent Peter Hessler gives an insightful and intriguing account of his travels through China.’
‘Country Driving is a delight from start to finish.’
‘If you’re not already a fan of Hessler’s this is a good starting point. In turns funny, informed and intelligent (often all three at the same time), this is a book that will broaden the horizons of any sinologist.’