The reading experience of this tragi-comedy book the lonely Londoner would be laughing with tears in grief. Set in 1956 Post war Britain, the booming economy draw many people from its former colonies come to Britain with dreams, fantasy that 'the street paved with Gold.' While present, distinct from the past, we see policies aiming at reducing flows of migrants etc and getting into UK esp for work is extremely hard. As a Chinese in Britain nowadays, I would say still I feel myself really attached to the book. Certainly, I'm quite different from the people in this book, mainly for that I'm a student not go to UK for work. But many people I know from Chinese community in the UK including myself also experience the same problem of integration, racism , loneliness, homesickness etc. The feelings stay the same across the race, across the time. During my reading, at certain points I could feel that it is exactly depicting our Chinese group!For example, people who are trying hard to mix with English people, but sometimes it is too hard so we give up and only end up sticking closely with our own people; people who takes pride in making boy/girl friends with white person; people who acts more English even than the native English people would do,and the certain type of 'resetaurant' jobs typically for us as the heavy manual work for West Indies etc.
For , I think the reason that isolate Chinese migrants from other groups of people is that language barrier and too reserved personality. People there don't really have an adequate sense of happiness mainly due to the loneliness, which is the main theme in the book.
But a lot of Chinese migrants too have been trapped in this very embarrassing situation that is 'neither forward or backward' . Because either way it won't lead to happiness if you think too hard about it, which just as Moses does.
Maybe in the end, you can't think too much, life is a trade-off ,you have already seen London, already seen so many different things and got prospects, so you must sacrifice other things for that. Those foreignness draw you here and those foreignness also make you suffer. '....The boy only laughing because they afraid to cry, they only laughing because to think so much about everything would be a big calamity- like how he here now, the thoughts so heavy like he unable to move his body.
What a sombre sentence! I would think only people who really experience those kind of loneliness and sense of inferiority can be able to appreciate the book. But I don't think that are whom the book really addresses to, it brings the sufferings of ethnic ,working class groups into public view, hoping more could feel it .
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