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Golden Boy

Memories of a Hong Kong Childhood

Martin Booth


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At seven years old, Martin Booth found himself with all of Hong Kong at his feet when his father was posted there in 1952. This is his memoir of that youth, a time when he had access to corners of the colony normally closed to a gweilo, a "pale fellow" like him. From the plink plonk man with his dancing monkey to Nagasaki Jim, and from a drunken child molester to the Queen of Kowloon (the crazed tramp who may have been a Romanov), Martin saw it all--but his memoir illustrates a deeper challenge in his warring parents. This is an intimate and powerful memory of a place and time now past.

Praise For Golden Boy: Memories of a Hong Kong Childhood

“One of the most original and engaging memoirs of recent years. Personal, witty, and true.” —The Times (London)

“A dream world, enchantingly recreated . . . Bold and curious, Booth treated Hong Kong as his personal amusement park, making a beeline to every single location expressly forbidden by his parents, including and especially the secret walled city controlled by the Chinese mafia. . . . An extraordinarily happy book, filled with . . . color, variety, adventure . . . hilarious set-pieces, and pulsating with Hong Kong's vibrant street life.” —William Grimes, The New York Times

Picador, 9780312426262, 352pp.

Publication Date: November 14, 2006

About the Author

Martin Booth (1944-2004) was the bestselling author of novels including Hiroshima Joe, Islands of Silence, and The Industry of Souls, which was shortlisted for the Booker Prize. Another novel, A Very Private Gentlemen, was adapted into the 2010 movie, The American, starring George Clooney. He also wrote several nonfiction books, including Cannabis: A History, Opium: A History, and the memoir Golden Boy: Memories of a Hong Kong Childhood. Booth was born in England, but spent much of his childhood in Hong Kong, a location that would deeply inspire his writing. He moved back to England at the age of 20, and started his literary career as a poet. He worked as a schoolmaster, a job he held until 1985, when the success of Hiroshima Joe allowed him to devote himself full-time to his writing. At the time of his death in 2004, he was living in Devon, England.