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?
The Emperor Of Shoes is a poignant and beautifully written novel following Alex, a Jewish son who starts to take over the family business only to have his eyes opened to the exploitation within.
This is a strong and compelling family drama with page turning appeal as we see Alex adapt to a new reality, come to terms with his own moral standpoint whilst having his loyalties tested all the way.
There are some brilliantly thought provoking themes explored, the author’s eye for characters is wonderfully engaging and it’s one of those books you fully absorb yourself into. It is a revolution all of its own and the interactions between Alex and Ivy and how they affect each other is a strong anchor here.
I loved it. Something different to my usual books and a pleasure to read.
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