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Download Factory Girls: From Village to City in a Changing China Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample Factory Girls: From Village to City in a Changing China Audiobook, by Leslie T. Chang Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (2,645 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Leslie T. Chang Narrator: Susan Ericksen Publisher: Tantor Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: January 2009 ISBN: 9781400180455
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China has 130 million migrant workers—the largest migration in human history. In Factory Girls, Leslie T. Chang, a former correspondent for the Wall Street Journal in Beijing, tells the story of these workers primarily through the lives of two young women, whom she follows over the course of three years as they attempt to rise from the assembly lines of Dongguan, an industrial city in China's Pearl River Delta. As she tracks their lives, Chang paints a never-before-seen picture of migrant life—a world where nearly everyone is under thirty; where you can lose your boyfriend and your friends with the loss of a mobile phone; and where a few computer or English lessons can catapult you into a completely different social class. Chang takes us inside a sneaker factory so large that it has its own hospital, movie theater, and fire department; to posh karaoke bars that are fronts for prostitution; to makeshift English classes where students shave their heads in monklike devotion and sit day after day in front of machines watching English words flash by; and back to a farming village for the Chinese New Year, revealing the poverty and idleness of rural life that drive young girls to leave home in the first place. Throughout this riveting portrait, Chang also interweaves the story of her own family's migrations, within China and to the West, providing historical and personal frames of reference for her investigation. A book of global significance that provides new insight into China, Factory Girls demonstrates how the mass movement from rural villages to cities is remaking individual lives and transforming Chinese society, much as immigration to America's shores remade our own country a century ago. Download and start listening now!

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Quotes & Awards

  • Brilliant, thoughtful, and insightful. Lisa See, author of Snow Flower and the Secret Fan
  • “Chang’s deeply affecting book tells the story of the invisible foot soldiers who made China’s stirring rise possible.”

    New York Times

  • “Engrossing…an exceptionally vivid and compassionate depiction of the day-to-day dramas, and the fears and aspirations, of the real people who are powering China’s economic boom.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “Chang delves deeply into the world of migrant workers to find out who these people are and what their collective dislocation means for China. Chang skillfully sketches migrants as individuals with their own small victories and bitter tragedies, and she captures the surprising dynamics of this enormous but ill-understood subculture.”

    Washington Post

  • “Chang reveals a world staggering in its dimensions, unprecedented in its topsy-turvy effects on China’s conservative culture, and frenetic in its pace…Chang deftly weaves her own family’s story of migrations within China, and finally to the West, into her fascinating portrait…Factory Girls is a keen-eyed look at contemporary Chinese life composed of equal parts of new global realites, timeless stories of human striving, and intelligent storytelling at its best.”

    San Francisco Chronicle

  • “Fascinating…Chang powerfully conveys the individual reality behind China’s 130 million migrant workers, the largest migration in human history.”

    Boston Globe

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Celine | 2/19/2014

    " A powerful and touching account of the living conditions, hopes and aspirations of migrant workers in the factories of contemporary southern China. The author's own quest for her roots interestingly collides with these girls' search for a better future - and their move away from their own countryside roots and family values. The book gives a voice to the millions of pairs of hands who are sewing and gluing together luxuries for us spoilt westerners and that they can't even dream of affording. You will never look at your fancy running shoes the same way again after reading this book. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Iris Wong | 2/14/2014

    " I found it repetitive to the point of boredom. Some of the stories were interesting but they weren't enough to balance out the other sections. I found the mixing of the family story and the migrant stories made the book too disjointed. I gained a new perspective into modern China and that's the only reason I didn't give the book 1 star. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Martha | 2/10/2014

    " Fascinating look at one aspect of rapidly changing society. The situation of these girls brings to mind similar girls who left rural US farms in the 19th century to work in the mills of New England. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Suzanne | 2/5/2014

    " An interesting and informative read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kathleen Spearman | 1/17/2014

    " This is part of my current fascination with China, fueled by Lisa See. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ivan Petrov | 1/15/2014

    " A different look on Chinese culture in general. It is well written and easy to read, albeit it's a bit disorganized! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Frances | 1/1/2014

    " Interesting glimpse in to modern migration within China from farm to factory. I also liked the way the author wove the story of her own family's migration in to the mix. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Berkeley | 12/5/2013

    " A captivating (albiet somewhat rambling, at times) portrait of what "Made in China" means to the daily lives of young factory workers. Well worth the read, though I skimmed some chapters. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kishwar | 11/2/2013

    " I guess I am glad I read this for a picture of where all the goods we buy here come from, but the story skipped around too much to keep my interest. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Kevin B | 5/16/2013

    " The title says it all--really interesting account--especially the aspect that these farm girls, from a patriarchal culture, return home comparatively wealthy and sophisticated, undermining the status of the fathers and brothers who stayed behind on the farms. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Nellie | 4/27/2013

    " Very insightful look into migrant women workers in China. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Erin Knuth | 4/15/2013

    " Fascinating look into the "Made In China" way of life. Be prepared to cite the title and author when repeating facts from the book; people tend to emphasize the negative and look incredulously at the positive sides of factory life. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Raymond Kolter | 2/24/2013

    " A revealing insight into the lives of the young people who are powering the growth of China. Chang's tireless efforts in following the lives of these courageous young girls allows the reader to gain a social awareness not easily accessible to outsiders. A terrific read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Maribel Castellanos | 1/2/2013

    " I have no time to be unhappy because there are too many things I want to do. "Time is Life." We can be ordinary but we must not be vulgar. - Wu Chunming "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sheriene | 4/9/2012

    " Makes you think about your standards of work. Especially having lived in China and seen first hand people that work in factories. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 PEN Center USA | 3/1/2012

    " 2009 PEN Center USA Award for Research Non-fiction "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jan | 2/17/2012

    " One of the most fascinating, well-written books I have read this year. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 April | 10/9/2011

    " I was a little confused by this book. It starts off following migrant Chinese workers from farm to factory, but then it's interspersed with tales of the author's own family. I felt like I was reading two different books. Wasn't a huge fan of this book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kaworu | 5/10/2011

    " Impressive look at the unseen workers of Chinese manufacturing. Very revealing. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rogerhuan | 5/5/2011

    " a different view of a changing China "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Megan | 4/10/2011

    " I have not read much about China at all, therefore this stpry was new to me. The writer did a great job weaving in her own personal story to the lives of the women she followed. Great rea and a great way to learn a little more about the culture in China. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lily | 4/8/2011

    " Very insightful book on the lives of modern young women in China who have migrated from the rural villages to work in the factories. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Yvonne | 3/27/2011

    " A book depicting resilience, hard work, vanity, and surviving through sheer determination. These girls leave their villages in search of a better life in the city. They live their lives by a set of rules and succeeded not because they were capable, but because they were determined. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Cassie | 3/24/2011

    " Interesting look into urban factory workers in today's China. A bit disjointed as half the book was about the author's family history in China, as if two books were mashed together. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lee | 3/22/2011

    " Good description of the oportunity "going out" has been for young women in China
    Man are they driven!
    Jumping from job to job, factory to factory-anything to get a start, a leg up. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Georgia | 3/14/2011

    " Interesting but rather disjointed account of girls from the countryside making their way in the factory towns of China's Guangdong Province. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rebecca | 3/14/2011

    " A relatively current look at national migration in China in the past decade and the big changes it is bringing to traditions of power and respect within and without families. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jon | 3/9/2011

    " I could've done without the author's family history. I understand she was trying to show the similarities to current day Chinese migration, but it seemed forced. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 nathan | 3/8/2011

    " You shouldn't be allowed to purchase consumer goods until you've read this book. "

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About the Author

Leslie T. Chang lived in China for a decade as a correspondent for the Wall Street Journal, specializing in stories that explored how socioeconomic change is transforming institutions and individuals. Her first book, Factory Girls, was named a New York Times Notable Book and one of the best books of the year by many publications. Chang is a recipient of a PEN USA Literary Award and an Asian American Literary Award. A graduate of Harvard University with a degree in American History and Literature, Chang has also worked as a journalist in the Czech Republic, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. She was raised outside New York City by immigrant parents who forced her to attend Saturday-morning Chinese school, for which she is now grateful.

About the Narrator

Susan Ericksen is an actor and voice-over artist. She has been awarded nineteen AudioFile Earphones Awards as well as the prestigious Audie Award. As an actor and director, she has worked in theaters throughout the country.