A Single Pebble

A Single Pebble am Kindle John Hersey is a good writer He creates characters well his stories move along with great energy and he makes a reader care deeply about what goes on But som

A Single Pebble am Kindle John Hersey is a good writer. He creates characters well, his stories move along with great energy and he makes a reader care deeply about what goes on. But sometimes, despite all those qualities, he just misses. This is one of those times. A young American engineer has been sent to China in the 1920s to inspect the Yangtze River for possible locations on which to build a dam. He travels up that unpredictable and powerful river on a junk, through gorges, rapids and whirlpools. Surrounded by the junk's owner and his young wife, the cook and a large crew of trackers, who literally pull the junk, the young man tries to reconcile his American belief in progress with the legends and ways of a primitive culture. He becomes obsessed with understanding Old Pebble, the head tracker, who takes on the personality of almost a river god.The story of the journey is gripping as the extreme adventure of prevailing over all the river's dangers is told. Hersey excels in writing the detail and realism of such a foreign location and people. Obviously the theme is east meets west, a theme which is shown by the events of the story contrasted with the young American's reactions.Unfortunately we are rather hammered over the head by the engineer's attempt to come to grips with the contrasts, which feels like being lectured to instead of being allowed as a reader to draw one's own conclusions. Possibly such a tone was needed in the mid 1950s, but reading the book in the 21st century, knowing that the dam got built, puts it in a different light.. A young American engineer sent to China to inspect the unruly Yangtze River travels up through the river s gorges searching for dam sites Pulled on a junk hauled by forty odd trackers, he is carried, too, into the settled, ancient way of life of the people of the Yangtze until the interplay of his life with theirs comes to a dramatic climax.. A viral Books A Single Pebble This novella is absolutely gripping. It tells the story of a 24-year old American engineer who sets off to explore the Yangtze in order to draft plans for a major dam - an undertaking which, as we now know, wasn't actually completed until 2008, nearly a century after the events imagined by Hersey. The young man travels up river on a junk owned by Old Big, an experienced mariner who has had his share of misfortunes, and in fact lost a boat on a previous journey. Old Big is married to Su-ling, a pretty girl half his age. The crew also includes a cook and, last but by no means least, Old Pebble, the head tracker of the expedition. The young foreigner, who has learnt Mandarin, spends a fair bit of time with Su-ling, who seems to be under orders to tell him all sorts of legends about the areas they go through. He is attracted to her, while surmising that she is in love with Old Pebble, who is in fact young and amazingly athletic. His other title is Noise Suppressor, because part of his job consists in singing to cover the groans of the trackers as they pull the junk up river against the fierce current. From the very beginning, the American is fascinated not only by Old pebble's strength, agility, and beautiful voice, but also by his declared contempt for money and all the other signs of success the American believes in. For instance, when he wins at some game and his fellow trackers accuse him of cheating, he throws all the coins he's won into the river. Hersey does a marvelous job of describing the narrator's complex feelings towards the Chinese. He is deeply ambivalent towards Old Pebble, whom he admires tremendously, yet would like to convince of his own superiority as a scientist. He doesn't know how to interpret the superstitious rituals in which the tracker and the cook take part with both deep conviction and manifest irony. He's very proud of thinking that, thanks to himself and others like him, there will soon be no need of trackers. He fancies himself a great liberator of mankind, while being reminded at every turn that junks have gone up the Yangtze for thousands of years, and that these incredibly brave, sturdy and skillful people are justly proud of what they can do. The themes of this book are universal: youth versus maturity, modernization versus tradition. The American has a Western sense of time, and nearly loses his rag when he suspects Old Pebble of having stolen his watch, in retaliation for his boasting about the future dam and the likes of Old Pebble becoming redundant. A further irony being that the narrator's watch was already broken. Eventually, in a particularly tricky bit of the gorge, Old Pebble loses his footing and has to be dropped into the raging waters to prevent a more serious accident to the team and the loss of the junk itself. The owner first seems to rejoice over the accident, then takes enormous risks in a doomed attempt at rescuing the drowning man. While the narrator believes Old Big dead, the junk arrives at destination. Feeling sad at parting with people he's spent so many weeks with in sometimes life-threatening circumstances, the engineer invites Su-ling and the rest of the crew to a banquet, but when they show up at his inn, where he's had time to change into clean clothes, he's shocked to see how ragged and unkempt they look. The precarious conviviality he experienced on the junk cannot be replicated on land, and the cultural gap between them yawns wider than ever. At this point, Old Big reappears, and forces the engineer to compensate him for the loss of the head tracker, which the young man half believes to have been a form of suicide. This is one of the densest and meatiest studies of communication problems between people of different cultures I've ever read, among many other things. WOW.
Your friends at A Single Pebble Restaurant Reserve a table facebook twitter DINNER Take Out Service Only Tuesday Saturday starting at PM OPEN TUESDAYS SATURDAYS BANK STREET BURLINGTON, VERMONT . A Single Pebble by John Hersey A Single Pebble tells the story of an American engineer who goes to China in the s to figure out how to dam up the Yangtze River He is the narrator of his A Single Pebble Hersey, John Feb , A Single Pebble Hersey, John on FREE shipping on qualifying offers A Single Pebble A SINGLE PEBBLE, Burlington Menu, Prices Restaurant Aug , A Single Pebble, Burlington See unbiased reviews of A Single Pebble, rated of on Tripadvisor and ranked of restaurants in Burlington. A Single Pebble Photos Reviews Chinese We love the Single Pebble and it s always a go to place for out of town guests we re hosting The Lychee Martini is an every visit item, as is the Mock Eel and the Hot Sour soup We really like the family style service, with everyone accessing a dish from the turntable in the center. Dinner Menu A Single Pebble Book your A Single Pebble reservation on Resy DINNER MENU SMALL DISHES Sliced Barbecue Hanging Pork Double Garlic Broccoli Mock Eel Chilled Shredded Chicken Cha Tzu Style Vegetable Chips Dry Fried Green Beans Scallion Pancake Dou Hua .

  1. John Richard Hersey was a Pulitzer Prize winning American writer and journalist considered one of the earliest practitioners of the so called New Journalism, in which storytelling devices of the novel are fused with non fiction reportage Hersey s account of the aftermath of the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima, Japan, was adjudged the finest piece of journalism of the 20th century by a 36 member panel under the aegis of New York University s journalism department.

122 Reply to “A Single Pebble”

  1. John Hersey is a good writer He creates characters well, his stories move along with great energy and he makes a reader care deeply about what goes on But sometimes, despite all those qualities, he just misses This is one of those times A young American engineer has been sent to China in the 1920s to inspect the Yangtze River for possible locations on which to build a dam He travels up that unpredictable and powerful river on a junk, through gorges, rapids and whirlpools Surrounded by the junk s [...]


  2. This novella is absolutely gripping It tells the story of a 24 year old American engineer who sets off to explore the Yangtze in order to draft plans for a major dam an undertaking which, as we now know, wasn t actually completed until 2008, nearly a century after the events imagined by Hersey The young man travels up river on a junk owned by Old Big, an experienced mariner who has had his share of misfortunes, and in fact lost a boat on a previous journey Old Big is married to Su ling, a pretty [...]


  3. I originally read this book in about 1960 but it is cited by many of the authors of books on China that I have recently read I liked it very much as a metaphor for the cultural, social, political clashes and changes awaiting China as it entered the world scene I particularly liked the idea us all trying to navigate up a huge river with steep massive gorges and impossible rapids using old techniques and wondering about how new technologies might help or might not and even difficult being the gor [...]


  4. This is a deceptively simple story about a journey up the Yangtze River in a junk In the hands of John Hersey, it becomes a small masterpiece With clear, concise prose, he captures the drama in the lives of the river workers and their daily challenges For me, it was a memorable journey.


  5. Exquisitely done This book still makes me think, many years after reading it, how significant and insignificant each of our lives can be, depending on perspective.


  6. Eh, another white guy decides it would have been better not to mess around with the lives of other people Kind of obvious from the start and not much else to it Decent and with good details, but kind of thin overall.



  7. This was one of two books gifted to me on my wedding day from one of my all time best friends Tony Mercer who actually officiated our ring ceremony His inscription indicated that he thought I d enjoy John Hersey s classic tale about twentieth century tensions of West vs East and modernity vs tradition particularly given my two years as a missionary in southeast Asia Indeed, he was correct Here is a passage from the book that resonates almost perfectly with my feelings at the end of my two year m [...]


  8. A young American engineer is sent to China in the 1950 s to explore the possibility of building a dam on the Yangtze river He takes a trip on a junk to check out building sites, thinking in theory and ending in the reality of life and death Some of the prose is wonderful, some a little technical than I wanted But you definitely get a feel for time and place and attitude Hersey s background is that of a journalist and Pulitzer Prize winner and that comes through in his writing It is sparse and c [...]


  9. The last couple of books I have read by John Hersey were both disappointments, really not his best stuff But with A Single Pebble he again is lyrical and clear, subtle and bold in his writing It was a really good book, and I would really recommend it.A Single Pebble tells the story of an American engineer who goes to China in the 1920s to figure out how to dam up the Yangtze River He is the narrator of his own story, told from a large span of years, he is old now And the sense of his nostalgia i [...]


  10. Question When is a novel not a novel Answer When it s a travelogue.This little book, about a the journey of a western engineer up the Yangtze, pre Three Gorges Dam Project, has me wondering at every page, why is this a novel It reads like travel writing it s obviously based on a trip the author made, it unfolds at the pace of the trip, and it also has elements of self descovery associated with the genre So, as it s actually a novel, what s real, and what isn t And does that matter Too many quest [...]


  11. This is a lovely book A simple and brief story, told in hindsight by an engineer sent as a young man to China in the 1920 s to identify a potential site for a dam to be built by his American firm Journeying up the Yangtze River, he finds himself on a primitive vessel hauled by hand up river by forty trackers to the Three Gorges The men stoically pit their strength pulling the junk with bamboo ropes against the raging river in a terrifying scenario that has been unchanged for centuries There is a [...]


  12. I read this because it was in the classics section at the library and because the story takes place in China I love China, so the book already had that going for it I wanted to like it I really did I just wasn t ever caught up in the story or the writing It didn t offend me in any way and I didn t think it was poorly written, it just was rather blah for me And the funny thing is, this wasn t even the book I intended to read in the first place I got A Single Pebble and the book The Sand Pebbles c [...]


  13. This was a quick and interesting read about an American engineer who goes to China to study the great river in order to propose the building of a dam He journeys up river on a junk ship and the entire tale encompasses this journey, including the things he sees on the river and the interactions with the Chinese who work the boat I must be completely honest I couldn t visualize most of the boat stuff I still don t know who what trackers are or what their job is I couldn t even figure out if they w [...]


  14. This is my Go To book when I need a shot of good writing and a tale of enchantment Dose one need to have traveled China to love this book No I read it before I went I read it after I returned I read it occasionally to remind myself that there is great literature out there that will never change But the gorges are no and the vision that young engineer was sent to investigate is there today From 1956 to today This is a novel for all times.


  15. The story may have been riveting in its day, but as it was set nearly 90 years ago and written in the 1950 s, I found little of relevance in the half I did read and gave it up as not of worth to today s reader.The writing quality is excellent, and I would suggest anyone who wishes to try this author to read Hiroshima.


  16. John Hersey is a very good writer I like his description and his characterization It didn t take long for me to be caught up in this story and I read it to the end very quickly Mr Hersey is not Chinese, but I felt that what he wrote about China and his Chinese characters rang true This is an excellent portrayal of the clash between cultures where in the author does not take a side I have read this book twice and recommended it to my readers group.


  17. Compelling fiction travel story about an American prospector surveying the Yangtze to build give recommendations on where to build a dam The book explores the idea of pastoral utopia and how it clashes with the harsh reality of the urban dog eat dog struggle Ending was a bit too reminiscent of David Copperfield for my tastes, however.


  18. Great story about an engineer travelling up the Yangtze with a traditional Chinese boat crew The engineer is considering sites for a dam which would essentially change the traditional way of life of everyone on the boat with him Interesting to think of the challenges to modernizing a way of life that is centuries old.


  19. 1920s a young american engineer goes up the Great River of China on a little junk, is surprised by how much he is changed by the journeyd how little everything else on the river has changed over the millenia could his dam bridge millenia in a moment Interesting with some vivid description but none of the characters grabbed me in particular


  20. Gosh, I wish the cover of mine looked so nice I have an old, old Bantam edition It s so old it doesn t have an isbn Still, the story is the important thing, and this promises to be an interesting one.


  21. A good book, moves briskly along and doesn t overstay its welcome but ultimately didn t really grab me in any meaningful way either Like I said, it s good, but it hardly made an impact on me Regardless, it s solid.


  22. A very nice story of west meets east on the Yangtze River A short novel that contrasts what s important in the eyes of a young westerner in the 1920 s against that of the Chinese people who work the river.


  23. This is perhaps the worst book that I have ever read I don t take that statement lightly either I would rather imitate Oedipus Rex and gouge my eyes out with a golden broach than read this work again.


  24. Hersey s 1956 concise novel pits Western engineering against Chinese culture on the Yangtze River, and presents a poignant quandary foreshadowing the Three Gorges Dam Project begun in 1993 It gave an excellent picture of the river trackers harsh but prideful laboring conditions.


  25. A young American engineer travels up the Yangtze River looking for a place to build a dam and is faced with a clash between his culture and that of the Chinese.




  26. It doesn t have all that interesting of a plot, it all sort of seems blend together in this one big mass of a boat on a river with small character relationship changes every once and a while.



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