Oracle Bones: A Journey Through Time in China
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A century ago, outsiders saw China as a place where nothing ever changes. Today the country has become one of the most dynamic regions on earth. In Oracle Bones, Peter Hessler explores the human side of China's transformation, viewing modern-day China and its growing links to the Western world through the lives of a handful of ordinary people. In a narrative that gracefully moves between the ancient and the present, the East and the West, Hessler captures the soul of a country that is undergoing a momentous change before our eyes.
up, and that was where he jumped. I almost followed him out. I ran all the way to the window, my momentum carrying my torso out through the open space, and then suddenly it was if I had woken up. I looked down and saw that the thief had been lucky—there 64 ORACLE BONES was a broad overhang below this part of the second story. I stopped shouting; suddenly the night was quiet. I heard the man’s footsteps as he rounded the corner of the building. He was still running hard. after the rage was
MAUSOLEUM LOOKS LIKE AN ALARM BELL, WHICH SYMBOLIZES THE NEVERENDING STRUGGLING SPIRIT OF DR. SUN YAT-SEN The Middleman 13 AND HIS DEVOTION OF HIMSELF TO THE CAUSE OF WAKING UP THE MASSES AND SAVING THE CHINESE NATION AND STATE Sun Yat-sen had been a key leader in the movement to overthrow China’s last imperial dynasty, the Qing, which ruled until 1911. At the mausoleum, vendors sold a set of commemorative lapel pins dedicated to what the People’s Republic believed to be the trinity of great
the downtown would be closed to trafﬁc between the hours of 4:30 P.M. and 2:00 A.M., but they didn’t mention the military hardware. I was in the bureau, doing some clipping, and I ran outside once I heard the roar from the street. Soldiers lined the sidewalks, keeping the gawkers back. Parents hoisted children onto their shoulders so they could see better. The next evening, I met Polat for dinner in Yabaolu. He grinned and said, “It’s been a while since there were tanks in Beijing.” When I asked
of corn is between 32 and 38 percent moisture. In central China, it’s only 14 percent. That’s why it takes so long for corn to dry in Changchun. Mr. Wang told me this fact while we were driving back to the Dacheng factory. I wrote it down. * * * Starch 109 my final interview was with Mr. Xu, the general director of the Changchun Corn Industry Development Zone. Back in the 1980s, he had founded the Yellow Dragon factory, which was the ﬁrst cornstarch processing facility in China. It took ﬁve
and if she’s considered the issues, then Hu Xiaomei says it’s ﬁne to live together.” By the end of 1999, Emily had worked at the jewelry factory for two years. At twenty-three, she was the oldest woman in her department. Over time, she had learned to understand the factory’s social dynamics: the relations between different workers, the nature of the Taiwanese owner. He still pursued the pretty women who worked at the plant, and everybody knew that he often hired prostitutes. But the man was weak,