Monday, 9 January 2012

Chang, Leslie T. “Factory Girls”

Chang, Leslie T. “Factory Girls” - 2008

Leslie T. Chang is a Chinese-American journalist who travelled to and lived in China for a couple of years to get to know the country of her ancestors. She interviewed several female migrant workers and portrayed their lives between the old and the new world, the poor families they were born into and the life in the modern Chinese towns. Quite different from what we in Western Europe expect from someone leaving their home to work in the city.

This was one of our book club reads. For various reasons, we were only a few people but, nevertheless, had a wonderful talk about this book. Some of us had already read other books about China, unfortunately the one that gives the most information (“Risse in der großen Mauer” by Jan-Philipp Sendker) has not been translated into English. But maybe one day, you never know.

Anyway, we really liked the way the author portrayed the different cultures. It was quite shocking at times how these girls moved on in this world,  how they changed from their rural life into city life between factories and other jobs.

Most of us didn't like that the author incorporated her family history into this work. It could have been a book on its own. The title of this one is “Factory Girls” and there is nothing about factories in her family history.

I am always amazed to learn about other lives, especially if they are completely different from ours. Often you have to go back in time for that - but not always, as this book proves.

We discussed this in our book club in December 2012.

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