Fight the Landlord is my second novel – I’m currently trying to get it published, so any advice (or if you’d simply like to read more), e-mail me.
It’s the story of a handful of men and women living and working around one apartment complex: waiting on rich foreigners who blink and miss, dragging themselves out for the night to bars and darker spots, serving customers and thinking it’s the same as understanding who they are, gambling (because that alone feels genuine), designing revolutionary computer games, thinking about China and their own flailing lives there, and most of all teaching English, because demand is high.
Here’s a little (from a McDonald’s somewhere near 酒仙路):
So who came? Young men with longer haircuts and cheap shirts, he knew, but they still looked good, and had dates to prove it, the women from the slightly higher-end of the nearby shops. Once school broke up for the afternoon greasy kids came in under their parents’ arms, one or two with younger siblings in pushchairs, with the mothers who were joined by their husbands and friends and their families at the weekends, the busiest time by far, when everything was being jammed into greaseproof paper and he wasn’t supposed to see what was happening in the shop front, and never really did for the first year, the adults sporting their money not spent on beer, instead a few kuai more on coffee with (he supposed) the money they hadn’t spent on cigarettes for they sat in the clean and whiter air under the long rectangular neons which didn’t come with smoke, hardly anyone waiting outside on the steps smoking, by the bike racks, and the outdoor playground that had brown sand and rusted over, instead coming straight in and buying milkshakes for their children that just drained straight out of the weird, fat prefab rectangle that a couple of the serving girls filled with milk and sachets and crushed ice from the freezers in the back, past the signs and displays where again out of view the restaurant turned brown and lost walls and looked more like the back of any other fanguan’r, just much bigger and with an industrial freezer that they could hear the whine and rattle of even from the kitchen, even over the frying. The milkshakes got handed over and instead the school uniforms came half-off and their occupants fell and ran into the ball pools and the foam and the curved plastic slides that were indoors, before the entrance proper, one heavily made-up window all with offers and images of smiling people reflecting a long way short of any overlap with the brown stained sand that got wet outside, and mostly stayed empty in the summer when it was too hot and the winter when it was too cold.