A study of five people caught in a strange cultural no-man's-land between their Chinese and American identities, by the New Yorker's Beijing correspondent,

Peter Hessler, was bought by

Tim Duggan for HarperCollins. It's called Excavations, and is, said Duggan, a beautifully written examination of the ways Chinese and American identities mingle—in a girl working in a factory making products for the U.S. market; an archeologist studying ancient Chinese writing whose American links once got him in trouble during the Cultural Revolution; a Chinese Muslim in Washington; and others. Some of the material has appeared in the author's New Yorker pieces. Duggan bought North American rights from agent

William Clark and aims to publish in winter 2006.