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Sour Sweet [Paperback]

Timothy Mo
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
Price: £6.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £10. Details
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Book Description

4 Aug. 1999
Shortlisted for the 1982 Booker Prize, this novel explores the clans and conflicts of Soho's Chinatown, where the Chen family arrive and want to succeed as restaurateurs in the 1960s. No family can survive for long without encountering the Triads. By the author of "The Redundancy of Courage".
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Sour Sweet + The Lonely Londoners (Penguin Modern Classics)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Paddleless Press; New edition edition (4 Aug. 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0952419327
  • ISBN-13: 978-0952419327
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 170,615 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Remarkably vivid vignettes 29 Aug. 2003
Format:Paperback
Two things really fascinated me about "The Monkey King" and "Sour Sweet", the first two of Timothy Mo's novels and the first two that I read.
The first is that, despite it now being 6 years since I read these books, I am staggered by the clarity and longevity of the pictures that Timothy Mo painted in my head. I have since found this with all of Mo's novels: the vividness of the depiction of the scenery or interiors makes me feel as if I've watched a film of the story, rather than read a book. I haven't sat back and analysed his writing to find out how he does it - and partly I haven't done so now for fear of spoiling the magic with which I remember the stories.
The second is that Mo's main characters in these two novels are unknowing innocents simply living their lives, such that the reader can see the wider implications of their actions when they cannot do so themselves. For example, in "The Monkey King" the reader is all too aware that Wallace Nolasco fits in far lower down the hierarchy of the Poon family than he thinks. Again, in "Sour Sweet", the thought of triad involvement is more often with the reader than with the characters. Often, the dramas that unfold in the stories are the result of quirky accidents rather than design - but that's what gives the stories such authenticity. Consequently, you feel as if you're a privileged observer quietly watching the characters live their ordinary lives for a few years. I could quite happily believe that the main protagonists had lived their lives like this before the events told in the story, and would continue to do so, just as naively, after the book is finished.
I thoroughly recommend Mo's writing to you if you enjoy novels that totally immerse you in the observation of others' lives - even where those lives are not always pretty.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars should have won the booker prize that year 20 Mar. 2002
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
the story about the chinese immigrant population in London in the late sixties and seventies is vividly brought to life. It is a feat to bring every mood into one story-funny,sad,loving,violence,age,childhood-that you long to find the outcome,but when over regret havin finished. The characters stay with you far after you've put the book away. You savour the second reading with more appreciation.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Sour Sweet 28 Dec. 2008
Format:Paperback
The story of a Hong Kong Chinese couple facing the challenges of moving to London during the late 1960s. A little bit stereotypical in parts but generally poinant observations of having to overcome language differences, working conditions and cultural challenges.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars HK meets London 9 Nov. 2008
Format:Paperback
Have read a couple of other books by Mo, so was surprised that I had never heard of this one.

A great little find - set in '60s England, the Chen family are coming to terms with life outside of HK. Chen is a simple man with a determined wife, they decide to set up a take-away with the help of his sister-in-law. Unfortunately, the long reach of the Triads enters their lives.

Good characters with a few very funny scenes, thoroughly recommend this.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Me + Sour Sweet = Love Affair 5 Feb. 2012
Format:Paperback
every few years I re-read 'Sour Sweet' and am reminded of how beautiful and clever the writing is and the insight I was given into a community/people that I knew little about. This book has made me laugh and cry and learn - and the amazing thing for me is that even years later it is still so relevant and has not aged. I would recommend this book to anyone and everyone. It is a true joy. Thank you Timothy Mo for enriching my life.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars tasty 7 Nov. 2012
Format:Paperback
If you've ever wondered about life beyond the counter of your local Chinese takeaway then this book will not disappoint.

It is a fascinating and funny portrait of a Chinese family living in 1970's London underpinned by the ruthless world of organised crime.

Timothy Mo is a remarkable writer and I loved every page.
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