Thu March 29, 2012
"Stories from the Front Lines of China's Great Urban Migration"
Today on our program we speak by phone with Michelle Dammon Loyalka, a freelance journalist and editor, who's just put out a new book (from the University of California Press) called "Eating Bitterness: Stories from the Front Lines of China's Great Urban Migration." Praised in Publishers Weekly as "a thorough and insightful examination of the gritty, arduous side of the Chinese economic miracle," this book profiles eight different migrant peasants in contemporary China --- an impossibly vast and rapidly changing country where, each year, some 200 million such migrants travel from the countryside to various urban centers in search of work. As this book makes clear, such an enormous class of poor yet hard-working migrants provides the sky-rocketing Chinese economy with a virtually endless supply of cheap labor. Loyalka, who has lived in China for more than a dozen years, provides her readers with (as Kirkus Reviews has noted) an "insightful look at the hard lives of real people caught in a cultural transition."