Head and shoulders above almost all other new books about China, this unflinching and yearningly compassionate portrait of the lives and loves of ordinary Chinese workers is quite unforgettable' Simon Winchester
Every year in China millions of migrant workers leave their rural towns to find jobs in the cities. These people are the driving forces behind China's economic boom: they work very hard and for little money to make the trainers, ornaments, designer handbags and toys which we buy.
Through the lives of two young women, Chang vividly portrays a world where you can lose your boyfriend and your friends with the loss of a cell phone; where lying about your age, your education, and your work experience is often a requisite for getting ahead; where a few computer or English lessons can catapult you into a completely different social class. This is a powerful and humane portrait of the forces which are shaping China.
'Astonishing . . . Heartbreaking . . . As one tool in trying to understand today's China, this is a most valuable, if troubling read' Irish Times
'Engrossing . . . An exceptionally vivid and compassionate depiction of the day-to-day dramas, and the fears and aspirations, of the real people who are powering China's economic boom' Scotsman
'Chang's elegant book is evidence that the best trips home often require a circuitous approach'
Nell Freudenberger, Financial Times