* 2019 Golden Tripod Award Recommended Title
* 2019 Wu Zhuoliu Literary Prize, Best Novel
* 2018 Mirror Weekly Book of the Year
* 15th Taipei Literature Award
In Taiwan, the textile industry grew, ruled, and disappeared in under thirty years, transforming the lives of millions almost overnight. Author and former factory worker Ku De-Sha follows the lives of a few individuals caught up in that storm in nine tumultuous and often tragic linked stories.
In the 1950s, Taiwan’s textile industry rose to huge heights of profitability and global prominence. Its rapid expansion attracted hordes of eager workers and entrepreneurs from all over, each one drawn in by the lure of easy money. But the world was not done changing, and by the 1980s the industry had all but collapsed entirely, bringing the majority of participants down with it. Like one of Taiwan’s regular flash floods, it had swept millions of lives up in its current, then left many of them stranded in the wake of its destruction.
Author Ku De-Sha was one who gave up a promising career as a writer to spend fourteen years in the industry before its disappearance. Now she offers us nine linked tales of laborers, bosses, and other cogs in the machine that surrounded her. She shows us desperation, sacrifice, and disappointment, telling the stories of people who give their lives and families up for success, as well as people – frequently women – who find the internal fortitude to carry one, and keep their families intact.
Everyone who’s ever bought a shirt in the US or Europe has heard of the textile factories and sweatshops in Asia that feed Western economic appetites. These stories take us inside the factory, exposing every human element with a level of complexity that can come only from firsthand experience.