Peter Hessler quotes

  • The American appetite for loneliness impressed me, and there was something about this solitude that freed conversation. One night at a bar, I met a man, and within five minutes he explained that he had just been released from prison. Another drinker told me that his wife had passed away, and he had recently suffered a heart attack, and now he hoped that he would die within the year. I learned that there's no reliable small talk in America; at any moment a conversation can become personal.
    -- Peter Hessler

    #Loneliness #Heart #Night

  • Alan Paul plunges into Chinese life and takes us along for the ride, through vegetable markets, used-car lots, Taoist temples, divey bars, and a beachside music festival before thousands of cheering fans. He conveys the thrills and challenges of living abroad, the confusions and regrets, and most of all the opportunity to become the person we always hoped to be.
    -- Peter Hessler

    #Regret #Cheer #Opportunity

  • Sometimes I thought of the Peace Corps as a reverse refugee organization, displacing all of us lost Midwesterners, and it was probably the only government entity that taught Americans to abandon key national characteristics. Pride, ambition, impatience, the instinct to control, the desire to accumulate, the missionary impulse - all of it slipped away.
    -- Peter Hessler

    #Ambition #Pride #Government

  • I began to see motorcyclists who had attached computer discs to their back mudflaps, because they made good reflectors. In a place called Xingwuying, locals climbed the Great Wall whenever they wanted to receive a cell phone signal.
    -- Peter Hessler

    #Wall #Cells #Phones

  • In China, much of life involves skirting regulations, and one of the basic truths is that forgiveness comes easier than permission.
    -- Peter Hessler

    #Regulation #Truth Is #Permission

  • Loneliness is everything it's cracked up to be.

  • Piglet noticed that even though he had a Very Small Heart, it could hold a rather large amount of Gratitude.

  • Sometimes,' said Pooh, 'the smallest things take up the most room in your heart.

  • Ideas may drift into other minds, but they do not drift my way. I have to go and fetch them. I know no work manual or mental to equal the appalling heart-breaking anguish of fetching an idea from nowhere.

  • The greatest need of our age and of every age, the greatest need of every human heart, is to know the resources and sufficiency of God.

  • No matter how strong a condom is, it won't protect you from a broken heart.

  • Nobody ever forgets their first night in the bush. It's among the precious, meagre handful of life firsts that remain indelible.

  • Recruiting Station was a story that came as the result of many anxious awakenings during many nights.

  • On the rare occasions when I spend a night in Oxford, the keeping of the hours by the clock towers in New College, and Merton, and the great booming of Tom tolling 101 times at 9 pm at Christ Church are inextricably interwoven with memories and regrets and lost joys. The sound almost sends me mad, so intense are the feelings it evokes.

  • Oh, treacherous night thou lendest thy ready veil to every treason, and teeming mischief's beneath thy shade.