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Fragrant Harbor

Lanchester, John

1,160 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 0399148663 / ISBN 13: 9780399148668
Published by Putnam Pub Group, E Rutherford, New Jersey, U.S.A., 2002
New Condition: New Soft cover
From Flash Books (Audubon, NJ, U.S.A.)

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About this Item

RARE "Uncorrected Manuscript For Limited Distribution." 1st Printing. New Copy. Never Read. Trade Paperback. Tiny smudge on outside pages size of a pencil point. Beautiful copy of book and cover. Collector's Copy. Bookseller Inventory # 000620

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Fragrant Harbor

Publisher: Putnam Pub Group, E Rutherford, New Jersey, U.S.A.

Publication Date: 2002

Binding: Soft cover

Book Condition:New

Dust Jacket Condition: New

About this title

Synopsis:

Follows Tom Stewart, a young Englishman, as he arrives in Hong Kong in 1935 from the intrigue of the 1930s through the Japanese occupation to the present day, sharing a story of forbidden love and ultimate redemption.

Review:

Two brilliant novels in one, John Lanchester's Fragrant Harbor presents a traditional colonial narrative set in the 1930s and 1940s inside a larger, dizzyingly complex tale of big business at the turn of the 21st century. Lanchester's main character, Tom Stewart, is a Kentish lad who journeys to the exotic Far East in 1935, just as the commercial prospects of Hong Kong are becoming apparent. On his voyage out, Tom is made the object of a curious bet between a Chinese nun and language teacher, Sister Maria, and an anti-Catholic English businessman. As a result, he becomes proficient in Cantonese with only six weeks' study. This skill, unusual in an Englishman, is the making of Tom's career. Although they part on bad terms, Sister Maria remains a shimmering figure on the periphery of Tom's life in Hong Kong, and their one thought as the Japanese invade the region is to protect each other.

Lanchester was raised in Hong Kong (his grandparents had settled there in the 1930s and been interned by the Japanese during the war), and his insider view of the place is about as far from the small, lyrical Western-Asian novels of recent years as can be imagined. The broad scope and jerking pace of Fragrant Harbor can be disconcerting, but they vividly convey the shifting fortunes and alliances of this crowded, corrupting, and much-contested territory. --Regina Marler

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