My rating: 5 of 5 stars
5 exciting stars to The Emperor of Shoes! 👠 👞 👠 👟 👠
The Emperor of Shoes is an unexpectedly delicious read. Alex Cohen is a twenty-six-year-old Jewish expatriate living in southern China. He is needed there to run his family’s shoe factory.
Alex is reluctant in taking this role, and once he does, as he travels the floors of the business, he is shocked by the exploitation and corruption he witnesses therein.
Alex then meets Ivy, a seamstress in his factory, who is secretly a political organizer, threatening to pull the rug out from under his family’s business if she can get all the laborers on the same page.
I absolutely loved Emperor of Shoes. It’s a cross-cultural story with emotionally and politically charged issues, along with the threat of vast systems’ changes as society, technology, and social mores evolve. I enjoyed observing the dynamic between Alex and his father, and also the changes within Alex, as he figures out his own ethics; a coming of age for him, really.
Overall, Emperor of Shoes is an original story about change on different levels and how explosive it can be to relationships.
Thank you to Spencer Wise, Hanover Square Press, and Edelweiss for the ARC. Emperor of Shoes is now available!
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From an exciting new voice in literary fiction, a transfixing story about an expatriate in southern China and his burgeoning relationship with a seamstress intent on inspiring dramatic political change 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.