By Simon Winchester
Emerging within the mountains of the Tibetan border, the Yangtze River, the symbolic middle of China pierces 3,900 miles of rugged kingdom earlier than debouching into the oily swells of the East China Sea. Connecting China's heartland towns with the risky coastal significant, Shanghai, it has additionally traditionally hooked up China to the skin international via its approximately 1000 miles of navigable waters. To commute these waters is to commute again in heritage, to feel the soul of China, and Simon Winchester takes us in addition to him as he encounters the essence of China--its background and politics, its geography and weather in addition to have interaction in its tradition, and its humans in distant and virtually inaccessible areas. The River on the middle of the area: A trip Up the Yangtze, and again in chinese language Time is commute writing at its most sensible: full of life, informative, and punctiliously mesmerizing.
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Additional info for The River at the Center of the World: A Journey Up the Yangtze, and Back in Chinese Time
I have the scroll,’ he said, and pointed to a neat cherry-wood box, maybe two feet long and eight inches wide and deep, sitting on the kitchen table. ‘We'll look at it in a moment. But first it's important to know how I came to get it. Part of the magic of a handscroll is in its history – in how many hands it has scrolled through, if you will. ’ Wang Hui had been one, perhaps the most distinguished, of the famous Four Wangs, the painters who won the unstinting patronage of the Chinese courts in the late Ming and early Qing dynasties.
They apologized for what seemed an unconscionable delay in expressing their gratitude, the note began. They had had an unforgettable time: the China Club was wonderful, the Austin Coates book* was unforgettable, my son's phone number was always busy. The enclosed was the very least way they could express their gratitude. Enjoy. I was astonished. For what had taken me perhaps three minutes' thought – all this? I flipped through some more pages, pleased at the generosity of strangers – and then, quite suddenly, I stopped.
Some Chinese scroll paintings are adorned with annotations by the artist, the better to help identify the succession of locales. But Wang Hui had done no such thing, and we had to guess at the more fancifully named formations that slid before our eyes. Was this pile of rock, deep in the Three Gorges, Wang's representation of what all China knew as the ‘Military Books' formation? Could the sinuously formed limestone cliff pictured here be what they called the ‘Ox Lung and Horse Liver‘? It was difficult to tell, from this at least, what had prompted China's mariners to imagine once that the strata had been shaped like a pile of volumes, or a dish of umbles.