But the opinion piece I'm referring to today has nothing to do with politics. It's about how Peter Hessler has ruined another foreigner's experience of living in China (yes, there have been others with this complaint). China Daily ran this article yesterday (which was posted elsewhere online a week earlier):
Peter Hessler singlehandedly ruined my life in China.Sounds rather harsh. Fortunately, the writer added a little bit of what passes for humor in some circles. The real complaint is that all the stories expats love to tell their friends back home have already been told by Hessler in one of his three books. There's nothing left for foreigners in China to do to impress the folks back home. Hessler previously issued an apology for "ruining" the China experience for everyone else.
I've never seen Hessler, author of the bestsellers Oracle Bones and River Town, but I eke out a bitter existence every day in his footsteps.
After reading his books (I'm almost done with Country Driving), I can say that he didn't ruin anything for me as an expat in China or as a writer. I have many stories to tell that Hessler never experienced (or at least didn't write about). With the size of the country and how quickly it changes, there will be plenty of tales for foreigners to regale us with.
I met Peter Hessler at an author event at Asia Society last month and have exchanged e-mails with him (he is a very nice guy). He admits that there are still books to be written about China--but writers have to search a little deeper to find them now.