The second part of West of the Tracks is devoted to the proletarian families of the state-owned housing block known as Rainbow Row, particularly their teenage children. Wang sensitively chronicles these families’ efforts to cope with the rapidly changing circumstances of their lives, from the shifting role of work within their everyday existence to their all-but-certain displacement in the face of factory closures throughout Tiexi. A rich, humanist portrait of the quotidian repercussions of fluctuations in the global economy, West of the Tracks’ second section is a captivating immersion in the daily lives of society’s most vulnerable elements and a stark reminder of all that is lost to the violent churning of capitalism.
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