Fragrant Harbor

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G.P. Putnam's Sons, 2002 - Fiction - 342 pages
15 Reviews
It is 1935 and Tom Stewart, a young Englishman with an almost visceral longing for adventure, has bought himself a cheap ticket to the complex, corrupt, and corrupting world of Hong Kong. Aboard ship, he becomes the pawn in a wager between a bluff businessman and a Chinese missionary nun, who bets she can teach him Cantonese on the six-week voyage out. What begins as friendship turns into solace and then a passion that only individual vows can remit.
"Fragrant Harbor" takes the reader from the intrigue and double-dealing of the 1930s through the savagery of the Japanese occupation to contemporary Hong Kong, crossroads of international trade and finance and waystation for laundering the dirty money of warlords, drug runners, and Chinese triads. The novel ends three years after the Mainland takeover, with Hong Kong as greedy, corrupt, and corrupting as when Stewart first landed there.
Writing with the same fine style and observant eye that distinguished his previous novels, John Lanchester depicts a tumultuous time and place and then peoples it with extraordinary characters. The result is a novel that proves he is amongour most versatile and talented contemporary novelists-indeed, as "The New York Times" wrote, "Lanchester is a commanding writer."

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - christinedux - LibraryThing

Spanning seven decades, the tale moves from the intrigue and double-dealing of the 1930s, through the savagery of the Japanese occupation, to end in contemporary Hong Kong, crossroads of international ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Ameise1 - LibraryThing

This book must be read. It is the story of four people who have to deal with Hong Kong at different times and who also have a relationship with each other. The story stretches over several decades. It ... Read full review

Contents

Section 1
3
Section 2
7
Section 3
18
Copyright

26 other sections not shown

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About the author (2002)

John Lanchester was the deputy editor of the London Review of Books and the restaurant critic for the London Observer. He is the author of a second novel, Mr. Phillips, and his work has appeared in The New Yorker. He lives in London.

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