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Five Star Billionaire
 
 

Five Star Billionaire [Kindle Edition]

Tash Aw
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)

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Review

‘Aw's tale of five migrant workers carving out lives in a modernising Shanghai is the stuff of a hit TV miniseries … the reading experience it offers is coolly engrossing’ Adam Mars-Jones, Observer

‘A brilliant, sprawling, layered and unsentimental portrayal of contemporary China’ Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

'A fascinating cast of characters … a panoramic, expertly detailed painting of contemporary Shanghai' Sunday Times

‘“Five Star Billionaire” opens with a bang, not a whimper … Aw is a master storyteller and “Five Star Billionaire” can be read as “The Way We Live Now” for our times’ Aminatta Forna, Guardian

‘[Aw] is unmatched at evoking the smells and sounds of the land and cityscapes, the figures of speech and shifting cultural mores of that finger-like peninsula that pokes into the South China Sea …Their tales are told chapter by chapter, the characters slowly drawing closer together like flotsam in a vortex, before the stunning finale …There is wit here, and plenty of acute observation and characterisation’ Independent on Sunday

‘A new kind of immigrant novel. One that takes place in our increasingly mutlipolar world and is …a challenge to the old narrative’ Sunday Telegraph

‘The five characters are distinct, and Aw manages to bring them together well … Aw brilliantly recreates the intonations and vocabulary of someone educated only in Chinese’ Independent

‘Highly topical, sharply observed but affecting portmanteau novel’ Independent, ‘Books of the Year’

‘A splendid achievement. The narrative … is brilliantly designed, a puzzle whose pieces click satisfyingly into place – Aw’s book could scarcely be bettered’ Independent on Sunday

‘Aw’s style – terse but tender, lightly ironic without being snide – is fresh, bracing and, above all, compassionate. His characters … form profound impressions on the reader. One simply cares deeply what happens to them, and this skilled writer never makes that an easy matter to predict’ Scotsman

Product Description

In the Man Booker prize-longlisted ‘Five Star Billionaire’ Tash Aw charts the overlapping lives of migrant Malaysian workers, forging lives for themselves in sprawling Shanghai.

Justin is from a family of successful property developers. Phoebe has come to China buoyed with hope, but her dreams are shattered within hours as the job she has come for seems never to have existed. Gary is a successful pop artist, but his fans and marketing machine disappear after a bar-room brawl. Yinghui has businesses that are going well but must make decisions about her life. And then there is Walter, the shadowy billionaire, ruthless and manipulative, ultimately alone in the world.

In ‘Five Star Billionaire’, Tash Aw charts the weave of their journeys in the new China, counterpointing their adventures with the old life they have left behind in Malaysia. The result is a brilliant examination of the migrations that are shaping the new city experiences all over the world, and their effect on myriad individual lives.


Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1256 KB
  • Print Length: 449 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0007494157
  • Publisher: Fourth Estate (28 Feb 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0095C1DOQ
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #13,219 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Tash Aw is the author of two previous novels, 'The Harmony Silk Factory', winner of the Costa First Novel Award and a Commonwealth Writers' Prize for Best First Novel, and 'Map of the Invisible World'. He was born in Malaysia and now lives in London.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic 17 May 2013
Format:Hardcover
"Five Star Billionaire" by Tash Aw is a beautiful book, focusing on several characters whose lives are partially interlocked.
The title comes from a book in Phoebe's journal, a poor but hopeful waitress in Shanghai who dreams of a better life. Several narratives tell the story of Phoebe, her flatmate, friends and employers, it tells the story of a country boy who shoots to singing stardom, about business men and business women and their various degrees of happiness or lack thereof.
In a very clever and often subtle way Aw manages to contrast the dreams of stardom and wealth against the emptiness and unhappiness of those who have. But far from being a repetitive and limiting moral tale that tells us to stick to what we got, Aw uses more complex plots and characters.
The chapter titles sound like the motto's and slogans from a self help guide.
I fell in love with the characters and wanted to know their fortunes, Aw really put in lots of material for more than just one novel.
Internet dating, secret habits of the famous and what makes a human really great, those are just a few of the subjects the book covers.
Mainly focusing on Malay immigrants the themes are however not limited to just their dreams and aspirations, I think we all share in those hopes and false ideas of happiness at one stage in our life.
I loved how the stories continues throughout the book. I am a big fan of Aw's previous work and requested to read this book through a reviewers site, but I am truly inspired by the quality and maturity of an already well established and proven writer.
Absolutely recommended.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The weakest of Tash's three novels 2 Sep 2013
By MisterHobgoblin TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Kindle Edition
Tash Aw's novels should be so good; he has a great ear for a title; his locations are to die for and his stories are brimming with ideas. But his previous two novels, although entertaining enough at the time, have left not the slightest trace of a memory on this reader's mind. Five Star Billionaire seems to be more of the same.

The novel stars five people (do you see what Tash did there?) who all hope of becoming billionaires. They are all outsiders from Malaysia (though Gary the disenchanted rock star might also have connections with Taiwan) and have all pitched up in Shangai. Their pasts, presents and futures all seem intertwined in degrees of coincidence that would make Dickens blush.

The characters, and there are actually more than five of them, fall into three groups: the men, the women, and Gary. The men: Walter Chau, Justin, the Lims and others all seem much of a muchness. They want to get rich through property deals but have a sensitive side if you look. The women, too, are interchangeable with Phoebe, Yinghui and Yanyan seem to want to make money in the field of make-up, massage, lingerie and dating. You have to keep wide awake to remember which one is which because they sound the same, behave the same and think the same. Only Gary, the rock star who has run away from his management company and is holed up in a darkened flat looking at intimate internet sites offers any relief from the monotony.

As for the settings - the novel bounces from Shanghai to Kota Bharu to Kuala Lumpur. Yet these wonderful cities with their mix of sounds and smells could be anywhere. Where are the images of eaves full of chirping birds and loudspeakers broadcasting the call to prayer in the deeply Islamic city of Kota Bharu?
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Terrific stuff - for so many reasons 19 Jan 2014
By Sienna
Format:Paperback
This is brilliantly readable - and as one reviewer said, pretty 'unputdownable'. I don't usually like novels where I have to keep starting over again in the first five chapters to get aquainted with new characters, but this one is an exception. Aw's writing keeps you interested and even if you question what might seem like a rather contrived relationship between the characters (it didn't bother me at all), you can't question Aw's ability to render and then carefully sort of deconstruct the drive behind the ruthless dynamism of a 'capitalist revolution' in Asia. Much to think about here as well as to enjoy, and even if you don't get the happy ending you might want, you get an ending that does, ultimately, make the journey for each of Aw's characters profound and life-changing in all the right ways. This the first novel of Tash Aw that I've read, but it's made me glad that there are two more to seek out! Read this!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Five Star Billionaire 28 Jan 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a sprawling novel, set primarily in Shanghai. Very well structured, good technical aspects. Strong characters who interact with each other.
A memorable teen pop star who is dysfunctional. Lots of writing around use of internet. Characters that amuse or are tragic.
Asian values satirised. Vivid dialogue and excellent Chinese symbols. That head each chapter.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Travesty this didn't make the Booker shortlist 28 Sep 2013
By K. J. Noyes TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Kindle Edition
Long-listed for the Man Booker, the story sounded readable. A lot this year didn't. Not having tried this author before I was dubious when seeing the length but very quickly began to enjoy the multiple-plots of the five stories meeting in Shanghai.

Despite the foreign setting, nothing about the writing or context made me feel alienated or out of my depth. The stories of country girl heading to the big city, former billionaire son and pop stars losing their fortune/celebrity, hardworking businesswoman finding her way, and the Five Star Billionaire of the title and how they all connect, was all well-written, engrossing and fascinating.

I really wish this had made the Booker shortlist and the closer I got to the ending and saw Aw's clever knotting of the stories together made me rethink the whole of the book and how the characters all connected. Very clever.

Great book, worthy of winning awards. And very readable. Don't be put off by the setting or the award tag. Good payoff.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating portrait of Shanghai from the inside
Tash Aw’s previous book ‘Map of the Invisible World’, published in 2009, was set in a Japanese garden designed to maximise peace and tranquility. Read more
Published 12 days ago by Dr R
4.0 out of 5 stars interesting
I liked this book very much interesting story about the different characters ....I went on to but two more books from this author so impressed I was with this book
Published 1 month ago by M. Rochford
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Start Billionaire - a very good read
A very good read. Very interesting view of life in Shanghai. We had a lively and in depth discussion about it at my book club this week which is usually a good indication that a... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Victoria Jannetta
2.0 out of 5 stars Jumps from one to another
I did not like this book. I bought it as a holiday read and found it not a relaxing book as it kept jumping from one character to another. Read more
Published 2 months ago by curtie
5.0 out of 5 stars A Beguiling Fictional Portrait of Modern Shanghai
Chinese-British writer Tash Aw’s “Five Star Billionaire” is really more a fascinating fictional portrait of modern Shanghai replete with all of its contradictions - a thriving... Read more
Published 3 months ago by John Kwok
4.0 out of 5 stars Angsty Shanghai People
The Big Cruel Eastern Megacity forms both the canvas and the vector that infects all five wannabe billionaires with the disease of wealth accumulation in Tash Aw's Five Star... Read more
Published 3 months ago by coronaurora
2.0 out of 5 stars A disappointing read
Well written and readable, but story fizzled out.
It seemed like 5 separate stories, with minimal or no interaction between characters.
Published 4 months ago by Mrs Mary Flint
3.0 out of 5 stars Five Star Billionaire
Started really well, got to know the characters, even though none of them were particularly nice. Unfortunately the book just didn't go anywhere, just seemed to drift on to a... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Teresa Jewett
5.0 out of 5 stars GREAT CUSTOMER SERVICE
Once again, the book arrived in perfect condition and so rapidly.

My thanks to all behind the scenes. Just great service to the customer.
Published 5 months ago by MICHAEL
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant
My first novel set in the Far East and i have thoroughly enjoyed it so far. A good sociological novel as it maps out the mindscape of Far Easterners who a lot of people in the west... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Amazon Customer
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