IN CHINA, “people drive the way they walk. They like to move in packs and they tailgate whenever possible. They’ll approach a roundabout in reverse direction if it seems faster,” writes Peter Hessler. Yet “it’s hard to imagine another place where people take such joy in driving so badly”.
It’s equally hard to imagine a more satisfying book on contemporary China than Country Driving. It’s travel writing at its best. Peter Hessler, the long-time Beijing correspondent for The New Yorker and a fluent Mandarin speaker, makes three journeys.
And it’s the individuals Hessler comes to know, in a real, meaningful way, who breathe such life and compassion into his prose.