An unforgettable portrait of individuals who hope, struggle, and grow along a single street cutting through the heart of China’s most exhilarating metropolis, from one of the most acclaimed broadcast journalists reporting on China today.
Modern 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. Marketplace’s Rob Schmitz is one of them. He immerses himself in his neighborhood, forging deep relationships with ordinary people who see in the city’s sleek skyline a brighter future, and a chance to rewrite their destinies. 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 with religion and get-rich-quick schemes while keeping her skeptical husband at bay. Up a flight of stairs, musician and café owner CK sets up shop to attract young dreamers like himself, but learns he’s searching for something more. As Schmitz becomes more 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 neighborhood where fates have been violently altered by unchecked power and greed.
A tale of 21st 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 and texture 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.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Street of Eternal Happiness is an interesting book. It is an account of parts of the lives of several of the people who lived on the authors street, who's translation is of of course Street of Eternal Happiness. The book frames how the rapid change in China has affected the lives of people and how they are adapting or not adapting to the new world. It is full of dialogue between characters that gives insight into the modern concerns and beliefs of different age groups in Shanghai. It is both interesting and insightful.
The author separates chapters by characters and references which chapter is about who by the number of the street they live on. There are a few major narratives which span different generations of Chinese. The author discusses the ambitions of recent a young man and his restaurant which he is funding from an accordion business. The author gives insight into the entrepreneurial spirit of the young generation and their ambitions. The author explores a...
Great book. Detailed, sometimes hard for me, personally, because I get hung up on the names /places/pronunciation of language I am not familiar with. So, I move on... to discover the pronunciation is not necessarily important, it's the story that draws one in, captures the space, street, human story of the people of Shanghai. The sentences are poetry, invoking images and culture one may not be familiar with. So we'll researched and lived in by the author that one feels and sees the place, people, the heart beats of what could have been to too formidable. It reads like a novel. It teaches w/o obvious intent, allowing the reader to live there. In Shanghai, like the author did. A very fine piece of art, that is real and alive. Read it. You will be transported.
It's not easy, even as someone living in Shanghai for a decade, to make the kind of personal connections and gain the trust of such a diverse group of characters as Mr. Schmitz has in 'Street.' It's a testament not only to Mr. Schmitz's Mandarin skills, but to his curiosity and patient unraveling of the imagined distance between foreigners and local Chinese. Stories exist all around us, but few of us take time out of our busy lives to wonder about the backstory of our corner florist or what our elder neighbor experienced in 1960's China. Mr. Schmitz delivers a generous yet balanced look into the strange world of a society still reeling from a wild-ride century. An excellent read!
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