Fragrant Harbour

by ThingsAsian Booklist, May 7, 2004 | Destinations: Hong Kong / China

Fragrant Harbour by John Lancaster, Faber & Faber (2002).

Title: Fragrant Harbour.

Author: John Lanchester.

Publisher: Faber & Faber (2002).

ISBN: 057121469X.

Details: paperback, 6" x 9", 299 pages.

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From the back cover:

'It's Hong Kong,' she said. 'Heung gong. Fragrant harbour.'

Fragrant Harbour is the story of four people whose intertwined lives span Asia's last seventy years. Tom Stewart leaves England to seek his fortune, and finds it in running Hong Kong's best hotel. Sister Maria is a beautiful and uncompromising Chinese nun whom Stewart meets on the boat out from England; their friendship spans decades and changes both their lives. Dawn Stone is an English journalist who becomes the public face of money and power and big business. Matthew Ho is a young Chinese entrepreneur whose life has been shaped by painful choices made long before his birth.

The complacency of colonial life in the 1930s; the horrors of the Japanese occupation during the Second World War; the post-war boom; the growth of the Triads; and the handover of the City to the Chinese - all these are present in Fragrant Harbour, an epic novel of one of the world's great cities and John Lanchester's finest book to date.

About the Author:

John Lanchester was born in Hamburg in 1962. He was brought up in the Far East and educated in England. His first two novels, The Debt to Pleasure and Mr Phillips, have been translated into more than twenty languages.

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