- Paperback: 280 pages
- Publisher: University of California Press (July 26, 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0520280369
- ISBN-13: 978-0520280366
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 17 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,129,414 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Eating Bitterness: Stories from the Front Lines of China’s Great Urban Migration Paperback – July 26, 2013
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"Michelle Dammon Loyalka’s Eating Bitterness tells the story of those who are at the bottom of Chinese society, their hopes, struggles, and above all, their perseverance in enduring hardship in life. It’s an untold story and a must-read for anyone who wants to know the real China."Helen H. Wang, author of The Chinese Dream.
"The great migration in rural China could be the most significant population shift today, influencing business practices, consumer habits, and cultural expectations around the world. Michelle Loyalka takes us behind the stunning demographics into the hearts and minds of the urban pioneers with unforgettable portraits of courage and despair. Her remarkable insight and candor make an indelible impression, erasing any distance between readers and subjects."Mary Kay Blakely, author of American Mom: Motherhood, Politics, and Humble Pie.
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Top customer reviews
This is strong, absorbing writing that describes the hardships faced by city-village people without infantilizing or romanticizing or turning them into victims. One of my favorite chapters is about a family of farmers-turned-landlords, who are the last to vacate their soon-to-be-demolished building. These 'nail house' stories are popular in western media coverage of China, the residents often portrayed as poor, uselessly defiant victims of greedy developers. But Loyalka shows us how this family has greatly benefited from the purchase of their land, and the only way they've been 'victimized' is by being so financially secure and idle that the head of the family becomes a mahjong/gambling addict. A refreshing take on an often discussed phenomenon. The other stories are similarly engaging, perfect blends of personal narrative and historical/sociological background (just enough for a general reader).
(My only gripe has nothing to do with the writing, but at how expensive the book is - it's published by a university press - which limits its audience. With such easy, accessible writing, I wish it had gotten a more commercial publisher and wider publicity, like Chang's book. I only heard about Loyalka at all because my husband, a writer, received a review copy of an anthology that included her writing. We were blown away and hunted down her book.)