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Pao
 
 

Pao [Kindle Edition]

Kerry Young
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £7.99
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Review

'With grace, authenticity and humour, Young lets Jamaica's political history shine through the life story of her charming yet fallible hero. Brilliant' (Daily Mail)

'A pacy but absorbing saga of domestic struggle and gangland manoeuvring set against the violent backdrop of postwar Jamaican politics ... [A] punchy tale of pungent characters and impassioned entanglements' (Independent on Sunday)

'In pages of patois-inflected prose, Pao celebrates the islands vibrant ethnic mix up ... [Pao] confirms Young as a gifted new writer. Her novel is a blindingly good read in parts, both for its mesmeric story-telling and the quality of its prose' (Observer)

'Young's heartfelt, sparky and affecting debut novel is a chronicle of multicultural Jamaica .... The complexity of Jamaican society in Pao is fascinating and bewildering' (Guardian)

Review

'With grace, authenticity and humour, Young lets Jamaica's political history shine through the life story of her charming yet fallible hero. Brilliant' Daily Mail 'A pacy but absorbing saga of domestic struggle and gangland manoeuvring set against the violent backdrop of postwar Jamaican politics ... [A] punchy tale of pungent characters and impassioned entanglements' Independent on Sunday 'In pages of patois-inflected prose, Pao celebrates the islands vibrant ethnic mix up ... [Pao] confirms Young as a gifted new writer. Her novel is a blindingly good read in parts, both for its mesmeric story-telling and the quality of its prose' Observer 'Young's heartfelt, sparky and affecting debut novel is a chronicle of multicultural Jamaica ... The complexity of Jamaican society in Pao is fascinating and bewildering' Guardian

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 485 KB
  • Print Length: 289 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1608195074
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing; 1 edition (6 Jun 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00555PUF0
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #37,472 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars could. not. put. it. down. 20 Jun 2011
By shel
Format:Paperback
i read it at home, on the tube, at work, in bed, at the gym, in the shower (ok, so not actually in the shower)... i simply couldn't stop; i had to know what was going to happen next and whether pao's latest scheme would come off.

told in the first person, the story spans the life of yang pao from his arrival in jamaica as a young boy to his ascension to the position of 'godfather' of chinatown. pao is guided by the social and philosophical ideals of his mentor and step father, zhang and the writings of sun tzu as he attempts to manage events at home and in business.

yang pao is inexplicably, compellingly loveable despite his misdeeds and the rhythm and flow of his narrative make this an easy page turner (even for someone like me who generally has little interest in reading about history and politics). yes, the signposts for dates are not always clear (especially to the politically ignorant) and yes, the story spans a vast time period over what can seem like too few pages, but for me this is symptomatic of being swept up on pao's journey, observing as he does, discovering as he does, regretting as he does without being bogged down by mundane description so many authors seem preoccupied with (i was going to ask "who wants to know what a character had for dinner?", but in this case i most definitely did!!). nonetheless, the pace of the story is not at the expense of the little details and pao's matter-of-fact, often comical perspective on life is what makes the book. can't wait to read gloria's side of the story!

don't be put off by the historical, political and philosophical undertones, for whilst 'pao' encompasses all of these disciplines, it is essentially a book about life and family.
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46 of 49 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good, but .... 15 Sep 2011
Format:Paperback
I enjoyed Pao - it was an interesting and well told story but I must admit that by the end of the book I also felt an underlying tinge of irritation. Like the author I too am a Jamaican of mixed heritage - my origin is not Chinese but African, Portuguese, Scottish and Irish ('out of many ...') and, like the author, I grew up in Kingston in the sixties and seventies (the period when much of the book is set) and I, like the author moved to the UK in the seventies when my parents emigrated there. The author claims the book is (and isn't) a political history of Jamaica - and I would like to put the stress on the 'isn't'. Ms. Young describes the Chinese community in Jamaica very well and her portrayals are, in many ways, wonderfully accurate but they are also deeply flawed. My own recollection of the Chinese community was that they were, almost a man, die-hard Chaing Kai Chek supporters. Most of their shops and restaurants had framed photographs of Chaing and Madam Chaing and they celebrated 'Double Ten' (the anniversary of one of Chaing Kai Chek's victories) with almost as much gusto as they did Chinese New Year. A Mao supporting businessman in downtown Kingston in the sixties would, quite simply, have been run out of town. Ms. Young is also overly simplistic when describing the racial and political turmoil of the time. One of the reasons that so many mixed race or non-black or light skinned people left Jamaica in the seventies was not, as Ms. Young claims, to hoard their wealth, but because it was made painfully clear to them by Michael Manley and his supporters that they had no future in Jamaica. Manley encouraged an outpouring of bitterness and resentment against this group of people and encouraged the downtrodden to believe that their poverty was an essential component of other people's wealth. Read more ›
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
By Ripple TOP 100 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
In her Costa Prize short-listed first novel, Kerry Young brings together a huge number of elements that make up a good story. Set in Jamaica, the time period covers 1938 to almost present day, it is the political backdrop of independence and control over Jamaica's assets that informs much of the story. But while the politics of Jamaica resound throughout the book, it's also a very personal story about the life of the eponymous Yang Pao. Issues of race, class, love, family, ambition and business philosophy - Pao's guiding light is Sun Tzu's "The Art of War" - are skillfully woven into the mix.

One of the first things that you notice is that because the story is narrated by Pao, it is all told in his own dialect form of English. To illustrate with a sentence at random: "Him no say nothing to me". She also interchanges "you" and "yu" - although quite what the difference is was lost on me. Some will undoubtedly find that irritating, and I confess that after longer periods of reading I did sort of yearn for a full, grammatical sentence, but in truth your mind quickly becomes attuned to the style and the meaning is always clear. I had more of a struggle with the dialogue in that there does not appear to be much difference between the style of language between those of Chinese and African-Jamaican origin. However, with the author's Chinese/Jamaican heritage, I can only assume that it's totally accurate.

Pao runs a protection business in Chinatown. He's sort of like a small time version of Tony Soprano. As so often with gangster-based literature, he has a moral element and is nice to his mother in a sort of Reggie Kray way, and sees himself almost as a Robin Hood figure.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyed every page and as a Chinese Jamaican I gave ...
Enjoyed every page and as a Chinese Jamaican I gave copies to my family as we could all see some of our families in the books
Published 16 days ago by Mrs O Hird
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent story telling, I was led and I followed and, in the end, I...
I would recommend this to anyone with an interest in life, love, passion and the humility of being human. Kerry writes and you cannot fail but to follow!
Published 17 days ago by Gerry Skelton
5.0 out of 5 stars EYE OPENER ON JAMAICA'S COLONIAL HISTORY
Loved this book. Great pacing and great storylines. Learned a lot about the history of the Chinese and Jamaica politics reading this book. A real eye opener.
Published 4 months ago by Max Zen
5.0 out of 5 stars Good read
Works best if you have read Gloria first, but could be standalone. Takes a while to get into the swing of the local phrasing of the conversations but it is thoroughly enjoyable... Read more
Published 8 months ago by Ms. Janet Haines
3.0 out of 5 stars It's ok
I nearly gave up on reading it. The use of language is inconsistent and it is difficult to read as a result. Read more
Published 9 months ago by J D Booth
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow...one of the best books I have ever read..absolutely breathtaking.
Fantastic book..my parents are Jamaican both born in the 1930's and I have always been intrigued by their childhood stories... Read more
Published 10 months ago by Miss V Wilks
5.0 out of 5 stars A good read
I bought the book for my wife who says it is a thoroughly enjoyable and interesting novel, especially as she was born in the West Indies.
Published 11 months ago by John Smith
4.0 out of 5 stars A good read!
I enjoyed this book very much. It was a recommendation from my creative writing teacher and I wasn't disappointed. The story really drew me in. Read more
Published 13 months ago by K WHELAN
4.0 out of 5 stars A terrific debut
I enjoyed Pao enormously. A self-assured debut that was original, nuanced and thought-provoking. I have already ordered the sequel and am pleased to hear that a third novel is in... Read more
Published 13 months ago by AHLR
4.0 out of 5 stars I never knew that...
I am ashamed to say that I did not know much about the cultural diversity of Jamaica before reading this book, so for me, this was a great entry into the subject. Read more
Published 14 months ago by Zira
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‘Of the five elements, none is always predominant; of the four seasons, none lasts for ever; of the days, some are long and some are short; and the moon waxes and wanes.’ &quote;
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Sun Tzu say, ‘There are some roads not to follow; some troops not to strike; some cities not to assault; and some ground which should not be contested.’ &quote;
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Sun Tzu say, ‘What is of supreme importance in war is to attack the enemy’s strategy and disrupt his alliances.’ &quote;
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