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What she finds is fascinating: The nanny loves the spoiled toddler she works for more than her own children, who are stuck back in the countryside until they finish school; the knife-sharpening peddler can’t get used to city prices, and impossibly saves three-quarters of his meager income; the innkeeper, returning to her hometown, is preoccupied with keeping her black leather pants clean, next to neighbors washing clothes in the river. She looks down on them and no longer fits in there, but has yet to assimilate to the city. Loyalka writes about people in limbo.
From the San Francisco Chronicle review of Eating Bitterness, a book about migrant workers in China by Chinese Characters contributor Michelle Dammon Loyalka