- Paperback: 288 pages
- Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing (6 Jun. 2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 140881207X
- ISBN-13: 978-1408812075
- Product Dimensions: 15.3 x 2 x 23.4 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars See all reviews (52 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,009,312 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Pao Paperback – 6 Jun 2011
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Impressive ... Told in a kind of Chinese-Jamaican patois, the first person narrative is captivating ... 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)
Kerry Young's energetic debut novel is a pacy but absorbing saga of domestic struggle and gangland manoeuvring set against the violent backdrop of postwar Jamaican politics ... Murder, corruption, blackmail, kidnap and incest drive the narrative ... Foregrounding Pao's personal travails against Jamaica's complex and deep-seated conflicts gives panoramic depth to the punchy tale of pungent characters and impassioned entanglements (Independent on Sunday)
Lovingly recreates the Jamaican Chinese world of [Young's] childhood, with its betting parlours, laundries, fortune telling shops, supermarkets and (business being a hard game in Jamaica) gang warfare ... In pages of patois-inflected prose, Pao celebrates the islands vibrant ethnic mix ... 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)
A vivid portrayal of the complexities of Jamaica's violent underworld ... Kerry Young's heartfelt, sparky and affecting debut novel is a chronicle of multicultural Jamaica, both in its cultural richness and in its strife and tensions (Guardian)
A richly imagined, wholly engrossing and utterly captivating novel that tells the remarkable history of twentieth century Jamaica as seen through the eyes of Pao, a Chinese-Jamaican racketeerSee all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The life and times of Pao, a Chinese boy whose mother is invited to move to Jamaica by the “godfather” of Chinatown. Pao is groomed to take over this role. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Jenny Cooper
This is novel combines politics, history and sociology. Very well written.Published 16 months ago by Wisal Al Bulushi
I bought this book as part of a book club read. Ironically I met someone a few months ago who was part Jamaican and part Chinese - yet although the subject of the book should have... Read morePublished 19 months ago by redhotchilli
A bit hard to follow in some places but that could me - chronic illness tends to mess with my concentration.Published 20 months ago by Maggs3petts
Found myself not being able to put the book down, I was gripped completely! Always wanting to know what Pao would be up to next. Read morePublished 24 months ago by Emily
I enjoyed this book, the first by Kerry Young. She has the ability to bring characters alive and I couldn't put it down. Read morePublished on 25 Sept. 2014 by mrs l l crompton