Pao (Paperback)

By Kerry Young

Bloomsbury Paperbacks, 9781408821893, 288pp.

Publication Date: April 12, 2012

Other Editions of This Title:
Paperback (7/12/2011)
MP3 CD (5/31/2016)
Paperback (6/1/2011)
Paperback, Spanish (6/30/2012)

List Price: 15.00*
* Individual store prices may vary.

July 2011 Indie Next List

“Imagine The Godfather set in Jamaica with a Chinese gangster in the title role. Now make the gangster funny, charming, and give him a conscience. There you have Pao. As a youngster, Pao's family immigrates to Jamaica under the protection of Zhang, who keeps Jamaica's Chinatown running smoothly. Pao is taken under Zhang's wing, shown the ropes, and educated in the philosophy of Sun Tzu's The Art of War. As Jamaica struggles for independence from British rule, Pao negotiates his way through awkward predicaments, both political and romantic. This is an utterly endearing story of a sensitive wise guy.'”
— Deon Stonehouse, Sunriver Books, Sunriver, OR
View the List

Description

SHORTLISTED FOR THE COSTA FIRST NOVEL AWARD

I was just a boy when I come to Jamaica.

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. They begin a relationship that continues even after Pao marries Fay Wong, the 'acceptable' but headstrong daughter of a wealthy Chinese merchant.

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. Richly imagined and utterly captivating, Pao is a dazzling tale of race, class and colour, love and ambition, and a country at a historical crossroads.



About the Author

Kerry Young was born in Kingston, Jamaica, to a Chinese father and mother of mixed Chinese-African heritage. She came to England in 1965 at the age of ten. Kerry's early life with her father, a businessman who operated within Kingston's shadow economy, provided the inspiration for Pao. Kerry Young has written extensively on issues relating to youth work, including The Art of Youth Work. She lives in Leicestershire.