Chaos and Grime: A Year in the Life of a Chinese City

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A hidden romance between a Chinese peasant and an American scholar threatens to uncover a dark secret.

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Author:Jacob Acerbi

“An evocative portrait of a troubled soul in a bewildering land.”

The riveting true story of the transformation of a Chinese city and an American who finds himself stranded there.

A detailed chronicle of everyday life in modern China, a window into the lives of Chinese peasants and the foreigners with whom they fall in and out of romance, and an inspiring tale of courage and love, Chaos and Grime: A Year in the Life of a Chinese City takes you where no memoir has dared to go before now. This “shocking,” “disturbing,” and “Kafkaesque” real-life thriller pulls no punches in painting a complex portrait of contemporary China.

Jim is a young American scholar. In the summer he arrives in Wuhan, the heart of China on the Yangtze River. In this world of cement and corruption, of fraud and fickle women, his initial optimism gives way to a poignant series of devastating revelations about what really happens to China’s “leftover women” and how the authorities stop at nothing to try to prevent such knowledge from getting out.

An intensely personal story of understanding and connection, as well as an illumination of power relations in a society in flux, Chaos and Grime captures in exquisite detail the lives of those caught up in the currents of history as it occurs here and now.

“This book should be required reading in Asian studies classes in colleges all over the United States.”


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