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The Buried


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An intimate excavation of life in one of the world's oldest civilizations at a time of convulsive change

About the Author

Peter Hessler is a staff writer at the New Yorker, where he served as Beijing correspondent from 2000-2007, and is also a contributing writer for National Geographic. He is the author of River Town, which won the Kiriyama Book Prize, Oracle Bones, which was a finalist for the National Book Award, Country Driving and Strange Stones. He won the 2008 National Magazine Award for excellence in reporting.


The Buried ... is Mr. Hessler's closely observed, touching and at times amusing chronicle of this tumultuous time. Drawing both from daily life and from interviews with highly placed political figures, the book is an extraordinary work of reportage ... Sensitive and perceptive, Mr. Hessler is a superb literary archaeologist, one who handles what he sees with a bit of wonder that he gets to watch the history of this grand city unfold, one day at a time. * Wall Street Journal *
An eclectic, beautifully written narrative that weaves a portrait of contemporary life in Egypt together with the complex strands of its pharaonic past, finding parallels between seemingly disparate ancient and modern worlds. ... The Buried is an ambitious book, and it delivers on all fronts. It's equal parts travelogue, history and memoir from a writer with a gift for conveying the humanity of his subjects. -- Rachel Newcomb * Washington Post *
It is both beautiful and heartbreaking ... Hessler has a genius for structuring a narrative. Here he has crafted a miraculously coherent arc out of several disparate themes ... Every page is vivid and engaging, and each chapter packs in surprises. * Literary Review *
The Buried is wonderfully impressive, not a conventional travel book at all, but the chronicle of a family's residence in Egypt, in a time of revolution - years of turmoil in this maddening place. And yet Peter Hessler remains unflustered as he learns the language, makes friends, puts up with annoyances (rats, water shortages, mendacity) and delves into the politics of the present and the ancient complexities. It is in all senses archeology - tenacious, revelatory, and humane. -- Paul Theroux
Hessler introduces unexpected prisms of enquiry and the intimate perspective of an endlessly curious observer ... The book achieves a great deal. It provides outstanding reportage of the Arab Spring but, better yet, are Hessler's accounts of the people he encountered. ... this spirited, deeply insightful book. * Geographical *
Nuanced and deeply intelligent-a view of Egyptian politics that sometimes seems to look at everything but and that opens onto an endlessly complex place and people. * Kirkus Starred Review *
This is writing at its best and highly recommended for anyone interested in Egypt, modern or ancient. * Library Journal *
A refreshingly original take on the country's modern history -- Peter Greste * Sydney Morning Herald *
At once engrossing and illuminating ... this stakes a strong claim to being the definitive book to emerge from the Egyptian revolution. * Publishers Weekly *
Peter Hessler is one of the finest storytellers of his generation. The beauty of his writing is subtle and cumulative-it gets under your skin. After his years in China, Hessler moved with his family to Cairo during the electric, chaotic days of protests in Tahrir Square. Through him, you come to know many Egyptians as he came to know them-casually, intimately, forming deepening ties. And through them you experience Egypt's turbulent recent history as it was happening, as it felt to live through it. -- Larissa MacFarquhar, author of STRANGERS DROWNING
The Buried is the kind of book that you don't want to end and won't forget. With the eye of a great storyteller Peter Hessler weaves together history, reporting, memoir, and above all the lives of ordinary people in a beautiful and haunting portrait of Egypt and its Revolution. -- Ben Rhodes, author of The World As It is: A Memoir if the Obama White House
In The Buried, Peter Hessler brings to life the secret history of the Arab Spring, masterfully weaving together a memoir of his time in Cairo with the hidden, intimate lives of ordinary Egyptians. With lyrical prose, Hessler introduces us to a side of the Middle East we never see in news accounts: an enterprising garbage collector, a gay man skirting police repression, an Arabic language instructor nostalgic for the country's socialist past. These stories unfold on the backdrop of Egypt's 5,000-year-old history, as we learn about the parallels Egyptians draw to their pharaonic past. Witty and deeply humane, The Unburied is unlike any other book I've read about the Egyptian revolution, and stands as a remarkable testament to the country's extraordinary history and to the struggle for human freedom. -- Anand Gopal, author of NO GOOD MEN AMONG THE LIVING: America, the Taliban and the War Through Afghan Eyes
Praise for The Oracle Bones 'One of the most profoundly original books about China * The Economist *
A swirl of interconnecting stories and histories make up Peter Hessler's extraordinary, genre-defying second book * Daily Telegraph *
[An] extraordinary survey of contemporary China...really quite unforgettable * The Observer *
Praise for River Town 'Written with great clarity and affection, River Town should be read by anyone with any interest in finding the Chinese less inscrutable * The Times *
If you read only one book about China, let it be this * Jonathan Mirsky *
An edifying portrait of a nation that experienced a dramatic uprising * Minneapolis Star Tribune *

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