Fusang is a young Chinese girl kidnapped , shipped to California and enslaved as a prostitute; somehow she survives and attracts the obsessive love of a rich American youth. Their unattainable love is a poignant and recurring theme in a story of suffering and cruelty.
Most of the girls who escaped the police roundup... were dead by now, killed by disease, by a fight, by who knows what. Fusang was the one who didn't die. Fusang, who in two years had aborted five pregnancies with caustic drugs, had a rounder face now. She went out around noon with Ah Cha and Ah Jiao to buy a few feet of satin to make embroidered shoe tops.