A sweeping family saga set against the backdrop of the tumultuous transformation of the porcelain industry in 19th-century Limoges.
Until the arrival of the Hollister family from the United States, porcelain production in Limoges was the business of a few small established ateliers. In 1847, two figures arrive in Limoges: Marc Dubreuil, a destitute kid with big dreams of painting on porcelain, and an American entrepreneur, Simon Hollister. Dubreuil dreams of becoming an apprentice at a porcelain shop but has few skills. Hollister dreams of a porcelain factory large enough to meet the huge demand of the new American middle class. But to be both the largest manufacturer and the best, Hollister must attract talent and good workers. Dubreuil talks his way into an apprenticeship and gives himself fully to Hollister’s enterprise, in what will be a stellar career as one of the firm’s most valued and creative artisans. The love of his life will leave him, but not before she gives him the gift of China, his beloved daughter. He teaches her everything he knows, and in return, China tells in this novel everything she knows about her father, and of how he sacrificed his life and his love to the big factory.
« Endowed with an unusual sense of dramaturgy, the author gives us a fable with multiple entryways. (…) Banishing contemplativeness altogether, Alexis Salatko delivers his message with words. » Hubert Lemonnier, La Presse de la Manche.
« Salatko’s strength lies in his understanding that a novelist is first and foremost a storyteller. Style and tone do the rest; he has both. » Philippe Lacoche, Le Courrier Picard.