This book is what makes nonfiction better than fiction. I loved how the author pulled in two stories over a hundred years apart and educated the reader in the amazing recovery of a ship that went down at sea. It was truly a scientific accomplishment and unlike most treasure hunting it seemed the treasure was in the ability to retrieve artifacts on the ocean floor and reconstruct the story of those who once sailed the ill-fated ship.
Out of my own curiosity, I looked up the hero of the story and found there is another book in the writing. The treasure he brought to the surface in the 80s has made him dissolve below the surface twenty years later. I wonder if he would do it again?
Economic opportunities are sought out by a huge migrant workforce in China. This nameless group takes on personal identity in Chang's book. She writes astutely about the people she befriends. It is an insider look at a larger workforce from which we unknowingly benefit. If you haven't looked at the items you buy recently, it is not hard to find "Made in China" on the coin purse we pay for the pillows we sleep on, the dinner plates we eat off of, the exercise balls we inflate and never use and the cell phone which have sprouted on our ears.
Even with a growing discontent in village life, there is a stoic acceptance of how life is hard and uncertain in the cities. What I took away was that the younger generation is searching for meaning in life and experimenting with what brings "happiness." Oh, may their eyes be drawn to the Source.