, Jun 6, 2011
- 276 pages
I was just a boy when I come to Jamaica.
Kingston, 1938.Fourteen-year-old Yang Pao steps off the ship from China with his mother andbrother, after his father has died fighting for the revolution. They are tolive with Zhang, the 'godfather' of Chinatown, who mesmerises Pao with storiesof glorious Chinese socialism on one hand, and the reality of his protectionbusiness on the other.
When Pao takes over thefamily's affairs he becomes a powerful man. He sets his sights on marrying well,but when Gloria Campbell, a black prostitute, comes to him for help he is drawnto her beauty and strength. They begin a relationship that continues evenafter Pao marries Fay Wong, the 'acceptable' but headstrong daughter of awealthy Chinese merchant.
As the politicalviolence escalates in the 1960s the lines between Pao's socialist ideals andprivate ambitions become blurred. Jamaica is transforming, the tides of changeare rising, and the one-time boss of Chinatown finds himself cast adrift. Richlyimagined and utterly captivating, Pao isa dazzling tale of race, class and colour, love and ambition, and a country ata historical crossroads.