Street of Eternal Happiness

Street of Eternal Happiness

Big City Dreams Along A Shanghai Road

Book - 2016
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Shanghai: a global city in the midst of a renaissance, where dreamers arrive each day to partake in a mad torrent of capital, ideas and opportunity. Rob Schmitz is one of them. He immerses himself in his neighbourhood, forging relationships with ordinary people who see a brighter future in the city's sleek skyline. There's Zhao, whose path from factory floor to shopkeeper is sidetracked by her desperate measures to ensure a better future for her sons. Down the street lives Auntie Fu, a fervent capitalist forever trying to improve herself while keeping her sceptical husband at bay. Up a flight of stairs, CK sets up shop to attract young dreamers like himself, but learns he's searching for something more. As Schmitz becomes increasingly involved in their lives, he makes surprising discoveries which untangle the complexities of modern China: a mysterious box of letters that serve as a portal to a family's - and country's - dark past, and an abandoned neighbourhood where fates have been violently altered by unchecked power and greed. A tale of twenty-first-century China, Street of Eternal Happiness profiles China's distinct generations through multifaceted characters who illuminate an enlightening, humorous and, at times, heartrending journey along the winding road to the Chinese dream. Each story adds another layer of humanity to modern China, a tapestry also woven with Schmitz's insight as a foreign correspondent. The result is an intimate and surprising portrait that dispenses with the tired stereotypes of a country we think we know, immersing us instead in the vivid stories of the people who make up one of the world's most captivating cities.
Publisher: London :, John Murray,, 2016.
Copyright Date: ©2016
ISBN: 9781444791068
Characteristics: vii, 326 pages : illustrations, maps ; 24 cm.


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Apr 17, 2017

For a book I so very much enjoyed there's little explanation as to how long it took me to complete it. I first checked the book out, read a chapter or two, and liked it a lot but nothing compelled me to complete it before it was due back. When I again saw it on the library shelf I knew I wished to read it - this time all the way through.

"Street of..." is the best sort of travel writing even disguised as something other. It tells of a place and a time through its people, interjecting history where it is appropriate and pertinent. The people whose stories are being told have interesting stories to tell. The history being revealed is fascinating.

This is a slow book to read through but that's not a dis. It feels a bit like the jar of Nutella kept in the cupboard, always waiting there to be consumed when you need a little treat. I don't know what more to say about this book except this: It reminded me of another favorite, in a similar genre, "Cool Grey City of Love" (by Gary Kamiya), I very much enjoyed it, and I'd like to see more works from its author.

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