'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; and, 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".