The Emperor of Shoes

The Emperor of Shoes

“Evocative… The Emperor of Shoes underscores the extent to which the promise of economic opportunity still moves people across great distances on our planet…[A novel] of our times…”— New York Times Book Review

*A Library Journal Best Debut of Summer 2018*

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.

Title:The Emperor of Shoes
Edition Language:English
ISBN:9781335145901
Format Type:

    The Emperor of Shoes Reviews

  • Angela M

    “It’s a bright moon outside, and from the window of my house I can see the skeletal gray of the factory, the banners draped like sashes and the deep arterial red of Mandarin characters demanding c...

  • Fran

    Guangdong, South China 2015. Fedor Cohen is the primary owner of The Tiger Shoe Factory. The factory consists of an administration building, two production plants and two dormitories. Fedor, a Jewish ...

  • Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader

    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 Chin...

  • Linda

    Last words......Dad said, "On his deathbed, Rabbi Akiba told his son, 'Wear a decent pair of shoes.' Those were his last words."And in keeping shoes worthy of Rabbi Akiba, Alex Cohen, via Boston to so...

  • Marialyce

    My reviews an be found here: https://yayareadslotsofbooks.wordpres...Life always seems to be in a state of flux. As we grow, we develop relationships, some of them tenuous which have a pull and tug co...

  • Faith

    Despite his lack of experience, Alex Cohen's father Fedor makes him a partner in the shoe business Fedor has built in China. Alex, who is 26 in 2015, is falling in love with Ivy, a 36 year old stitche...

  • MRIDULA

    Dream big is something we all have been advised at least once in life. But a tine idea, a small change is also capable of bringing a change in our lives as well as others. The Emperor of Shoes is one ...

  • Creager

    In the Emperor of Shoes, Spencer Wise, dares to ask for a little more buck for the bang. 26 year old, Jewish expatriate Alex has a lover and is being groomed to take over his father’s shoe factory i...

  • Cathy

    In his praise for The Emperor of Shoes, Robert Olen Butler describes the book as ‘character-rich’ and I can’t disagree.  That doesn’t mean, however, that the characters are necessarily easy ...

  • Eva

    How often do we buy something that says Made in China? When we do, do we stop and wonder about the conditions of the people who made this pair of jeans, this phone in our hand or the shoes on our feet...