The Emperor of Shoes by Spencer Wise
Source: Random Things Tours
About The Book
Alex Cohen, a twenty-six-year-old Jewish Bostonian, is living in southern China, where his father runs their family-owned shoe factory. Alex reluctantly assumes the helm of the company, but as he explores the plant's vast floors and assembly lines, he comes to a grim realization: employees are exploited, regulatory systems are corrupt and Alex's own father is engaging in bribes to protect the bottom line. When Alex meets a seamstress named Ivy, his sympathies begin to shift. She is an embedded organizer of a pro-democratic Chinese party, secretly sowing dissonance among her fellow laborers. Will Alex remain loyal to his father and his heritage? Or will the sparks of revolution ignite? Deftly plotted and vibrantly drawn, The Emperor of Shoes is a timely meditation on idealism, ambition, father-son rivalry and cultural revolution, set against a vivid backdrop of social and technological change.
This is a delicious human story mixing cultures, idealism and human rights at the Emperor Shoes business.
Alex Cohen is a young Jewish living in South China and will have to take care of his father's business, a shoe factory, but as you may know China is not very well known for the rights of the workers or good salaries... So, Alex will have to face the truth about his father business, how he wins the money and treat the workers, but luckly for Alex, he will have on his side a young revolutionary girl that wants to change the labor conditions in China from the inside. She will have an important part in Alex life and how he will want to continue the business of his father, change or traditional?
This had been a different read for me, but eyes opening at the same time discovering how is the working life in other countries and how the workers at the factory are treated, sadly in Guangdong, China, 2015, not very good.
Be prepared for this sweet tale, full of sentiments, realism and some powerful characters that will make this book, one of the most addicting reads of this year!
About The Author
Spencer Wise was born in the North Shore of Massachusetts where people give directions relative to Dunkin’ Donuts franchises (ie. Two Dunks down the road, turn left, at the next Dunks, bang a right).
After attending Tufts University, he did community organizing in the South End. Then he followed a girlfriend to New York and worked at Time Out NY and Sports Illustrated for a number of years and kept writing stories. One of them he showed to his close friend at the Tavern on Jane, who set the story down and said, “You know, you don’t have to be a writer.” Scarred but undeterred, Wise returned to graduate school in creative writing at the University of Texas at Austin, finally earning a Ph.D. at Florida State University. He stayed in Tallahassee where he has the privilege of sharing his passion for literature and writing with the amazing students at FSU. He lives with his brilliant partner who rocked a beret with leopard trim for most of her childhood. Unsurprisingly, they have two cats.