Lanchester, John Fragrant Harbor

ISBN 13: 9780142003374

Fragrant Harbor

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9780142003374: Fragrant Harbor

Fragrant Harbour is the story of four people whose intertwined lives span Asia’s last 70 years. Tom Stewart leaves England just before it is hit by the Great Depression to seek his fortune, and finds it in running Hong Kong’s best hotel. Sister Maria is a beautiful and uncompromising Chinese nun whom Stewart meets on the boat out from England; their friendship spans decades and changes both their lives. Dawn Stone is an English journalist who becomes the public face of money and power and big business. Matthew Ho is a young Chinese entrepreneur whose life has been shaped by painful choices made long before his birth, and who is now facing his own difficulties, and opportunities, in the twenty-first century.

The complacency of colonial life in the 1930s; the horrors of the Japanese occupation during the Second World War; the post-war boom and transformation of Hong Kong into a laboratory of capitalism at its most cut-throat; the growth of the Triads; the handover of the city to the Chinese – all these are present in Fragrant Harbour, an epic novel of one of the world’s great cities. The novel’s shape and scale, its emotional power and beauty, make it John Lanchester’s finest book to date.

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Review:

In his new novel Fragrant Harbour John Lanchester, as in his previous books, shows an impressionist's gift for adopting different voices for his narrator. The moral hedonist Tarquin Winot who tells his story in The Debt to Pleasure and the downsized suburbanite whose inner monologues provide the material for Mr Phillips could hardly be more contrasting characters, yet Lanchester makes both equally convincing.

In Fragrant Harbour much of the story is told in the words of Tom Stewart, a young Englishman who sails to Hong Kong in the 1930s and ends up spending the rest of his long life there. The voice of Stewart--reserved, humane and understated--is as finely achieved as those in the earlier novels. Through his eyes we see Hong Kong's 20th-century history. The class-ridden and racially divided society of the 1930s is given the brutal awakening of the Japanese occupation. After the war, the old Hong Kong disappears and the city is transformed by economic boom and entrepreneurial energy. The approaching return of the city to mainland China brings its own problems, anxieties and upheavals.

Against this backdrop, Stewart's life, and particularly his relationship with Maria, a Chinese nun he first meets as he is travelling out from England in 1935, unfolds. Lanchester intertwines personal histories and the city's history with great skill, showing how the past lives on, even in a city as resolutely modern as Hong Kong. The narrator of the book's last section, a young businessman called Matthew Ho, may be the embodiment of the new Hong Kong but, as he knows himself, his life has been decisively marked by the old. --Nick Rennison

Review:

'There's a depth and emotional candour here that, long after you have finished the book, is hard to forget... Fragrant Harbour is really a love letter to Hong Kong, redolent with the bright shine of romance and nostalgia for the indefinable essence of a place.' Observer 'Provides both the detail and panorama of a fascinating city... it has a cracking emotional thrust.' Financial Times

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Book Description Penguin Putnam Inc, United States, 2003. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Reprint. 201 x 135 mm. Language: English . Brand New Book. It is 1935, and Tom Stewart, a young Englishman with a longing for adventure, buys himself a cheap ticket aboard the SS Darjeeling-en route to the complex and corrupt world of Hong Kong. A shipboard wager leads to an unlikely friendship that spans seven decades as Hong Kong endures the savagery of the Japanese occupation, emerging as a crossroads of international finance and the nexus of a world of warlords, drug runners, and Chinese triads. Bookseller Inventory # AAC9780142003374

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Book Description Penguin Putnam Inc, United States, 2003. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Reprint. 201 x 135 mm. Language: English . Brand New Book. It is 1935, and Tom Stewart, a young Englishman with a longing for adventure, buys himself a cheap ticket aboard the SS Darjeeling-en route to the complex and corrupt world of Hong Kong. A shipboard wager leads to an unlikely friendship that spans seven decades as Hong Kong endures the savagery of the Japanese occupation, emerging as a crossroads of international finance and the nexus of a world of warlords, drug runners, and Chinese triads. Bookseller Inventory # AAC9780142003374

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Book Description Penguin Group USA. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Paperback. 352 pages. Dimensions: 7.9in. x 5.3in. x 0.9in.Fragrant Harbour is the story of four people whose intertwined lives span Asias last 70 years. Tom Stewart leaves England just before it is hit by the Great Depression to seek his fortune, and finds it in running Hong Kongs best hotel. Sister Maria is a beautiful and uncompromising Chinese nun whom Stewart meets on the boat out from England; their friendship spans decades and changes both their lives. Dawn Stone is an English journalist who becomes the public face of money and power and big business. Matthew Ho is a young Chinese entrepreneur whose life has been shaped by painful choices made long before his birth, and who is now facing his own difficulties, and opportunities, in the twenty-first century. The complacency of colonial life in the 1930s; the horrors of the Japanese occupation during the Second World War; the post-war boom and transformation of Hong Kong into a laboratory of capitalism at its most cut-throat; the growth of the Triads; the handover of the city to the Chinese all these are present in Fragrant Harbour, an epic novel of one of the worlds great cities. The novels shape and scale, its emotional power and beauty, make it John Lanchesters finest book to date. This item ships from multiple locations. Your book may arrive from Roseburg,OR, La Vergne,TN. Paperback. Bookseller Inventory # 9780142003374

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Book Description Paperback. Book Condition: New. 135mm x 20mm x 206mm. Paperback. It is 1935, and Tom Stewart, a young Englishman with a longing for adventure, buys himself a cheap ticket aboard the "SS Darjeeling"-en route to the complex and corrupt world of .Shipping may be from multiple locations in the US or from the UK, depending on stock availability. 352 pages. 0.304. Bookseller Inventory # 9780142003374

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