Wednesday, August 31

Book Review: Pao


Author:Kerry Young


Summary: As a boy, Pao comes to Jamaica with his mother and brothers in the wake of the Chinese Civil War. His father has died in the fighting, and the family finds a provider in Zhang, the godfather of Kingston's Chinatown. Pao is inducted into the business, and soon steps into Zhang's shoes, running small-time rackets and providing the necessary protection for the Chinese community.

 Pao becomes a powerful man, but he's not a typical crime boss. H is sensitive at heart and guided by the principles of Sun Tzu's Art of War, even though as he discovers, the wisdom of the ancient Chinese sage can be tough to interpret when applied to the criminal and romantic predicaments he faces.

Jamaica is in flux, transitioning from the last days of British rule while confronting the social and economic inequality left behind and the resulting unrest. The tides of change will reinvigorate Rastafarianism and the Back to Africa movement, but leave Pao's ambitions uncertain. A journey experienced through the eyes of of an utterly beguiling character, Pao is an unforgettable novel of race, class, and color; love and ambition; and a country in the throes of tumultuous change.

My Rating:5/10

What I liked/disliked about the book:
This book just didn't work for me. The idea behind the story was interesting and was what got my initial interest in it, but narrative completely ruined the book for me. I struggled to finish it, although there is a great story there, it doesn't shine through like it should have.It was an interesting concept, a coming of age story of a Chinese boy who grew up in Jamaica and his struggle for power and survival, but unfortunately they way the author chose to write the narrative was terrible. It was written in a broken English, much like what the protagonist would sound like if he spoke, now I would have been fine with this being used for dialogue, as it helps create a character, it didn't work as the narrative as a whole. It was often distracting and it took me longer to read than normal, as my brain kept trying to rework it in my head, t straighten things out. The story itself isn't the usual type I read, but I did enjoy the look at organized crime, the life in Chinatown in Jamaica and the cultural and political revolution in Jamaica. But that was lost in the narrative, which was a shame, there is a good story somewhere in there.

Would I recommend it to read:
Not sure I would, the story is interesting, but they way it is written was very distracting, and eventually weakens the story itself. Wouldn't b high on my list of recommend reads.

What to read next:Hmmm, I'm not sure on this one, can't think of a book to recommend.

Challenges:  11 in 11100+ Challenge2011 Countdown ChallengeGlobal Reading Challenge 

I received this book from LibraryThing's Early Reviews program

This is a repost of the original, as something happened and the post was accidentally deleted. 

1 comment:

  1. Zibilee
    I am sorry this one didn't work for you, Jules. I recently read a book about a group of Caribbean immigrants and there was a lot of patios in it. For some reason I really liked it, and it may be because I had a very close Jamaican friend at one time, and it reminded me of the way she spoke. But I can understand that it would not work for everyone. Thanks for sharing your review with us, and for being so candid. It's much appreciated!
    September 02, 2011

    Zibilee - If the dialogue were written that way I would have been fine. But having the entire narrative written like that had me struggling to focus on the book. Normally, I really enjoy stories on the immigration experience, but this one didn't work.

    Above is a repost of the comments originally posted on the post.