STRANGE STONES by Peter Hessler Selected as One of Amazon’s Best Nonfiction Titles of the Month

Amazon has joined the cohort of those championing Peter Hessler’s collection of expanded pieces, STRANGE STONES: Dispatches from East and West (Harper), most of which originally appeared in The New Yorker, selecting it as one of their Best Nonfiction titles of the month.

Publishers’ Weekly, characterizing the book as “elegant and thoughtful,” also featured it as one of the “Most Eagerly Books of Spring 2013.” Kirkus gave it a stellar review, saying: “Riveting… A rich, vibrant collection that pries wide open the door to the East, welcoming Western readers inside.”

Steve Weinberg, Professor Emeritus at the Missouri School of Journalism, wrote the first review not oriented toward the trade for the Kansas City Star, “In ‘Strange Stones,’ a former Missourian travels the world, eats a rat and writes elegant essays. Hessler’s three books set in China are hybrid masterpieces — part travel writing, part deep sociology, part journalism. Those books (“River Town,” “Oracle Bones” and “Country Driving”) constitute the most interesting, informative English-language accounting I have read about that nation. A bonus is Hessler’s skill at composition — he is a master of clear, compelling language. …Peter Hessler’s fascination with the characters shines through every one of his magazine features. And the mostly foreign settings add to the fascination for less mobile readers.”

Kelly Chung Dawson, writing for China Daily but based in New York, points up Peter’s humor in her story “Storyteller Embraces Humor to Depict Life in China.”  Earlier this month, Publishers Weekly’s Louisa Ermelino asked: “Where is Peter Hessler?” The answer being: “Now, seven years later, Hessler has his own family. He’s married to journalist Leslie Chang with whom he has twin daughters, and he’s living in a very lovely part of Cairo.” Ermelino previously wrote about Peter when his National Book Award Finalist ORACLE BONES was published in 2006, in her piece “Lost in Beijing: Peter Hessler.”

ChinaFile is presenting “Peter Hessler: Strange Stones — A Conversation and Book Signing” with Peter in discussion with Michael Meyer and Susan Jakes, editor of ChinaFile, at Asia Society New York on May 21st at 7pm.

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