- Paperback: 320 pages
- Publisher: Short Books Ltd (3 Feb. 2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1907595228
- ISBN-13: 978-1907595226
- Product Dimensions: 12.8 x 2.9 x 19.7 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 591,732 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Crimson China: A Novel Paperback – 3 Feb 2011
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Crimson China... is fast becoming Tobin's break out novel --Evening Standard
Crimson China...is deftly conveyed, at a rattling pace that keeps the pages turning. The author's evident sympathy for her characters and their dilemmas, together with some sharply observed detail, gives warmth and depth to this entertaining tale of crossed cultures. --The Times
This satisfying novel imagines the life of Wen, a survivor from the tragic drowning of 23 Chinese cockle-pickers in Morecambe Bay in 2004, who is saved by Angie... Through their eyes we see a Britain inhospitable to foreigners, a promised land both plentiful and heartless, and a corrupt hidden economy. --The Sunday Times
A dark dramatic story told with admirable realism and restraint. Unforgettable;--Sue Gee
Tobin knows how to spin a tale and keep the pages turning. She captures the sense of alienation felt by her characters, and the quiet desperation of an invisible underclass...Crimson China is a sensitive and successful evocation of loneliness and displacement: a study of profound loss ultimately redeemed by the mundane reality of a bungalow in Morecambe.--Independent
This fine novel grows in pace and power, propelled not only by its social conscience but also a vividly drawn cast and a gradually building sense of jeopardy as the snakeheads close in.--Daily Mail
Tobin coaxes these damaged lives into alignment, cutting between points of view with great skill and sensitivity. At times unbearably tense, Crimson China has lots to say about the trade-off between need and exploitation, and the way love can erode cultural difference--Guardian
Tobin seamlessly incorporates documentary material into the story. This gripping study of loss and redemption is also an authentic portrait of an invisible underclass.;--Financial Times
Tobin ingeniously manages to portray events with a tragic realism that doesn't call for theatrics. Instead there is a deep-rooted emotion here that doesn't require fireworks, rather it is an aching throb that seeps through...A captivating novel. --Book Caterpiller
About the Author
Betsy Tobin was born in the American Midwest and moved to England in 1989. She is the author of three other novels, Bone House, The Bounce and Ice Land. She lives in Islington, London with her husband and four children.
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Top Customer Reviews
This book makes you think again. A great read and I have bought another Betsy Tobin book to try.
Although the subject matter is undoubtedly depressing,the book races along - it's a really good read, part thriller, part a rather unorthodox love story. The characters are extremely well drawn & believable. A stark reminder of how tough a migrant workers life over here must be - highly recommended !
To briefly summarise the plot: Wen is an illegal immigrant from China who gets caught up in the Morceombe Bay tragedy (for those who aren't aware - this actually happened in Britain several years ago when over 20 illegal Chinese immigrants drowned while picking cockles for very little pay on Morecombe beach at night). Wen survives when he is rescued by Amgie who is a woman who is an alcaholic has decided to commit suicide on that very beach at the same time. Angie makes a last minute decision to save both herslef and Wen instead. After Wen is assumed dead, his twin sister Lili flies over to the UK as she can't quite believe he is dead and is determined to track down his last known movements to get some closure. She doesn't get what she bargained for as Wen is very much alive.
While this was not a bad book in any way, in fact on the whole I did enjoy reading it, it did however have the potential to be so much more. I would have liked the book to really bring the plights of the people involved and also their families who also had to suffer the consequences, to life. It never really pressed home to me the devestation of that night and the aftermath and nor did I ever feel fully engaged with any of the characters. Having said that, there were many good points too - in particular I liked the character of Wen: although I never felt he was fully fleshed enough to get to know him properly, I did like his observations of Englishness through his watching of Angie when she took him home.Read more ›
All the characters are so vivid, the subject matter so interesting, and the writing is beautiful. I actually can't think of anything I disliked about it (except perhaps the title - somehow it doesn't match the book). I feel like I know Lili, Wen and Angie; I loved the complexity of Angie's character, and the unlikely closeness that she and Wen develop.
Author of Killing Cupid
Killing Cupid: A Psychological Crime Novel
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Keep my interest all through. An insight to chinese immigration and liked how it started with the tradegy of Morecombe Bay.Published 8 months ago by Mrs Elizabeth Knott
excellent, great condition, prompt delivery, many thanks :)Published 18 months ago by layla haidrani
A clever play on words in the title. It kept my interest throughout. It was an insight into another way of life.Published 18 months ago by Amazon Customer
A novel based on the tragic events in Morecambe Bay when Chinese cockle pickers were drowned. Makes you think about the inequalities in life and how lucky we are in this country. Read morePublished on 4 May 2013 by catherine anderson
I read this whilst living in China, so it was enjoyable, and interesting, to read about Chinese immigrants living in the UK from the perspective of a Brit doing the opposite. Read morePublished on 11 Aug. 2012 by Miss J. Wilson
An interesting book that I have read in one session, although it has sat in my reading pile for months. I would give it 4. Read morePublished on 23 Jun. 2012 by Joy B