Street of Eternal Happiness


Telegraph Best Travel Book of the Year

“Poignant [and] enjoyable… Schmitz’s eye for scenes and ear for dialogue give an immediacy to his stories that more expository works often lack.”
New York Times Book Review

“A portrait of China from the stories of a single Shanghai street…a poignant microcosm...coursing under even the bleakest stories is a sense of optimism that tomorrow will be better...”
The Economist

“Enjoyable and illuminating… The great virtue of these books is that they offer Chinese people a voice, something that is often lacking in news coverage. Schmitz writes with great affection about the shopkeepers and other residents of his street: in telling their stories, he shows how the goals of the Chinese state have ‘often stood in the way of individual dreams.’”
The Guardian

“Hopes and struggles rise to the surface in this intimate portrait of modern China.”

“Educational and entertaining… rich with voices… The people [Schmitz] features are…fully rounded characters, whose stories emerge in chat after chat, chapter after chapter, so we feel we are getting to know them as the writer does... [Readers] will feel much wiser about China and the Chinese than when they started.”
The Telegraph

“This beautifully conceived and written book conveys the joys, the tragedies, the comedy, and the vivid humanity of modern China. No one will talk about ‘China’s rise’ or ‘the China model’ in the same way after reading it, and years from now people will turn to this book to understand the China of this era.”

—James Fallows, author of China Airborne and Postcards from Tomorrow Square


Street of Eternal Happiness is a marvel of place-based reporting. This single road illuminates the complexities, contradictions, and funny wonder of today’s China. This book is really about family—the most eternal force on any street in the country.”

—Peter Hessler, author of River Town,  Oracle Bones, and Country Driving


“Rob Schmitz has given us a treasure: a patient portrait of an impatient country, a China that is utterly true to life in its beauty and heartache, tenderness and greed. His story is told in real lives that are, like Shanghai itself, modern and imperfect, romantic and ruthlessly practical. Reading this is as close as most people will come to living there.”

—Evan Osnos, National Book Award winning author of Age of Ambition


“Schmitz peels back the layers of a single street to discover ambition, reinvention, faith, corruption, murder, and heartbreak. In this intimate and revealing book, a two-mile stretch of road embodies the dreams and dramas of modern China.”

—Leslie T. Chang, author of Factory Girls


“Rob Schmitz is a master storyteller who leads his readers into the heart and history of modern China. Street of Eternal Happiness is, in turn, funny, moving, tragic and—ultimately—emotionally satisfying. Nobody can pretend to understand Shanghai and contemporary China without reading it.”

—Adam Minter, author of Junkyard Planet


“At last, an intimate look at daily life in contemporary, convivial Shanghai. All great cities have a great book that captures their rise or fall; Street of Eternal Happiness is Shanghai’s.”

—Michael Meyer, author of In Manchuria and The Last Days of Old Beijing