Gold by the Inch (Paperback)
Grove Press, 9780802136497, 224pp.
Publication Date: September 13, 1999
Called "striking" by The New York Times Book Review, Gold by the Inch is the story of a young New Yorker of Asian descent who has returned to the country of his birth following a disastrous relationship and his father's death. In a Bangkok drunk on the nation's financial miracle - and high on an assortment of other things - the narrator meets Thong, a young, beautiful male hustler who works at a nightclub. As his romantic obsession with Thong grows, the narrator tries to convince himself that it transcends its commercial nature, but he is quickly forced into a hard look at the connections between desire and exploitation, personal and national identity. Lawrence Chua vividly combines Southeast Asia's troubled history with evocations of its modern face - its polyglot culture, its colonial past, the cool futurism of its skyscrapers and its sex industry. Written in hard-bitten, dazzling prose, Gold by the Inch is a stunning debut.