Friday, 9 December 2011


Title: Pao

Author: Kerry Young

Number of pages: 288

Started: 5 December 2011

Finished: 9 December 2011

Opening words:

Me and the boys was sitting in the shop talking 'bout how good business was and how we need to go hire up some help and that is when she show up. She just appear in the doorway like she come outta nowhere. She was standing there with the sun shining on her showing off this hat, well it was more a kind of turban, like the Indians wear, only it look ten times better than that. Or maybe it just look ten times better on her.

Plot summary:

Kingston, 1938. Fourteen-year-old Yang Pao steps off the ship from China with his mother and brother, after his father has died fighting for the revolution. They are to live with Zhang, the ‘godfather’ of Chinatown, who mesmerises Pao with stories of glorious Chinese socialism on one hand, and the reality of his protection business on the other. When Pao takes over the family’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 drawn to her beauty and strength. As the political violence escalates in the 1960s, the lines between Pao’s socialist ideals and private ambitions become blurred. Jamaica is transforming, the tides of change are rising, and the one-time boss of Chinatown finds himself cast adrift.

What I thought:

I wasn’t sure about this book to be begin with. It was written in a sort of dialect, which is a style that I don’t always warm to. In this instance, I think it worked though.

I thought the book had a decent plot and at times was moving. It was an engaging tale and, whilst some have criticised it for not being factually accurate, I thought it was an interesting read. It wasn’t one that I thought was a prize winner, but it was well worth a read.

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