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the Peter Hessler Fan Club

Just read the most beautiful piece of writing that brought tears to my eyes: Peter Hessler, writing about a small-town druggist in the U.S. He pays tribute to his subject with respect and without sentimentality – clear-eyed, vivid, unforgettable. I’d already cut out a “New Yorker” story of his about emigrating from China, and have now officially added Mr. Hessler to my list of great essayists. Click below and then on H for Hessler, and the story will come up.

A bright sunny warmish day; the Japanese maples are stunning this year, the most startling red. After a morning sitting on my butt writing, I’m about to go for a walk and drink it all in.



2 Responses to “the Peter Hessler Fan Club”

  1. theresa says:

    I read this too — a remarkable piece of writing. And the kind of thing one used to find more often in the New Yorker (I think I'm right about this?), which made my recent discovery of it such a surprise. I am in the middle of re-reading my friend Edith Iglauer's Fishing With John and I have a vivid memory of reading some of it first in the New Yorker. Where else would one read a long and beautifully written profile of a salmon fisherman? Or a small-town druggist?

  2. beth says:

    Theresa, first, please convey my best wishes to Edith Iglauer. I've read Fishing with John and am a great admirer of her spare, wry stories in "Geist."
    And second, the "New Yorker" is a blessing and a curse – once a week, that fat compendium of humour and great writing – torture. If I'm only four or five months behind, it's a victory. I have no complaints about it under David Remnick, except for the occasional "Vanity Fair"-type piece on a less than interesting star-type person. And sometimes, I do think there's just too much $# detail. But Hessler's piece was perfect – exploring his subject in depth but not too much depth, and with such humanity and insight.

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About Beth

I began keeping a journal at the age of nine. Nearly fifty years later, I started this online journal, sharing reflections, reviews, updates, and the occasional secret.

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