A view of China, from the back — and front — seat of a cab
It’s often said that only a lazy journalist reports a story through the eyes of a cabdriver. That may be true everywhere but in China. Here, where a century’s worth of development has been squeezed into decades, cabbies have had a front-row seat to the country’s dizzying changes, and have some of the best anecdotes and the most interesting views of the country’s transformation. Wherever in China I am, I always look for drivers whose ID numbers indicate they’ve been on the road at least a decade; they are always worth striking up a conversation with. In “The Shanghai Free Taxi,” NPR correspondent Frank Langfitt puts a new twist on the cabbie narrative: He becomes the driver. Langfitt rents, and later buys, a car to drive people around Shanghai and further afield, in exchange only for their stories. (This arrangement came about after he tried to become a registered cabdriver but local taxi companies blocked him.) He meets and follows a range of people, weaving their perspectives into his own commentary on China’s high-speed trajectory. The result is an engaging and dynamic narrative that offers readers an unusual perspective on modern China.
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Book / 9781610398145 / Frank Langfitt / June 11, 2019 / 4 / ..:::