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Inspired by the secret life of the author’s grandmother, Lotus follows a young woman as she defies her fate and escapes to the city and all it holds for her—be it love, danger, or destiny.
Surviving by her wits alone, Lotus charges headlong into the neon lights of Shenzhen, determined to pull herself out of the gutter and decide her own path. She’s different than the other streetwalkers—reserved, even defiant, Lotus holds her secrets behind her red smile.
The new millennium should’ve brought her better luck, but for now she leads a double life, wiring the money home to her family and claiming she earns her wages waiting tables. Her striking eyes catch the attention of many, but Lotus weighs her options between becoming the concubine of a savvy migrant worker or a professional girlfriend to a rich and powerful playboy. Or she may choose the kind and decent Hu Binbing, a photojournalist reporting on China’s underground sex trade—who has a hidden past of his own. She knows that fortunes can shift with the toss of a coin and, in the end, she may make a choice that leads her on a different journey entirely.
Written with compassion and vivid prose, Lotus was inspired by the deathbed revelation that the author’s grandmother had been sold to a brothel in her youth. With compelling insight, Lijia Zhang reveals the surprising strength found in those confronted with impossible choices.
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