Richard Mason has an addictive writing style that creates an inviting and intoxicating world and web of people. His descriptions of Hong Kong and the people who lived there at that time are accurate, witty and enduring. Suzie Wong is the most realistic character I have met in fiction and I feel all the wiser for having known her.
I would recommend this book to anyone travelling to Hong Kong. Not only is the plot well crafted, but the imagery it conjures up provide a fascinating glimpse into Hong Kong of the late fifties. I visited Hong Kong last year. My how the place has changed. Anyone interested in the real Hong Kong should buy a copy.
As I read this book I wondered if it was fact or fiction. I had assumed it was fact and indeed its description of people and situations seemed a little too real to be combined with imagination and guesswork. In particular, the character of Suzie. I found myself really quite taken with her. On the other hand, it had so many ups and downs I began to suspect a fictitious plot. I will leave it for you to find out which it is. This book is closer to the Jane Austen spectrum of things in its knowledge of people than say, a Mills and Boon novel, and it gets quite spiritual at times. I think it is a classic but at the same time it is an easy read. A romance you can race through. In terms of its moral outlook it has none of the stuffyness of 1950s films. Sex wasn't invented in 1963, afterall. Which maybe explains why there were so many people in it prior to this.
A beautiful story of an American man who is unhappy with his current job and then decides to move to Hong Kong to pursue his interest in painting. This story captured my heart and was easy to read and makes me want to travel just that little bit further and visit the places that were mentioned in the story. A timeless classic and a wonderful book that sits proud on my bookshelf amongst many of my other 'classic' books. A love story that both men and woman will love.
I read this book years ago as it is one of my mothers favorite books of all time. As I am half Chinese myself I can strongly relate to this book, having visited Hong Kong.
This is a truly fascinating love story set in 1950's Hong Kong. Of course it brings out the seedier side which was quite realistic. I have read this book time and time again, as the descriptions of Hong Kong are so accurate that I feel I am there myself.
I loved Suzy Wong herself. She was by far from the perfect little Chinese woman that many a novel romanticizes. She was hard streetwise prostitute who fell in love with an American. A timeless classic that stands the test of time.
This is easily the best romantic novel, and one of the best books of any kind, that I have ever read. It is also sad, funny, perceptive and extremely unusual.
Based to a large extent on the author's own travels and experiences, it is the story of the Briton Robert Lomax who (after trying and failing to make his way in various businesses such as rubber-planting) decides to jack it in for a while and use his savings to follow his dream, which is to be an artist.
So he moves into a small hotel in Hong Kong, the Nam Kok, which is all he can afford. Unknown to him, however, the hotel is a brothel in all but name, inhabited by girls who cater to the needs of the visiting sailors.
The greater part of the novel describes how the girls gradually become his friends (once they've realised he's not a potential client), how he gradually falls in love with one of them (the eponymous Suzie), and how they deal with the problems that arise from this transracial romance (for this is in the 1950s).
Mason writes in the first person, with an easy flow that brings Suzie's world effortlessly to life, almost in front of your eyes.
Never mind if you thought the film was rubbish — read the book. I can't recommend it too highly. You may fall in love with Suzie yourself!
Originally bought this for pennies at a charity book sale in the early nineties. I don't know how many times I have read it but it is a lot and enjoy it every time. Didn't know they had made a film but I feel that the story has too many levels and is too involved for the big screen to do it justice so I have no interest in seeing it. Describes a Hong Kong which is gone forever, which is sad. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading, full stop.