Pao: A Novel [NOOK Book]

Overview


As a young boy, Pao comes to Jamaica in the wake of the Chinese civil war and rises to become the Godfather of Kingston's bustling Chinatown. Pao needs to take care of some dirty business, but he is no Don Corleone. The rackets he runs are small time and the protection he provides necessary, given the minority status of the Chinese in Jamaica. Pao, in fact, is a sensitive guy in a wise guy role that doesn't quite fit. Often mystified by all that he must take care of, Pao invariably turns to Sun Tsu's Art of War....
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Pao: A Novel

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Overview


As a young boy, Pao comes to Jamaica in the wake of the Chinese civil war and rises to become the Godfather of Kingston's bustling Chinatown. Pao needs to take care of some dirty business, but he is no Don Corleone. The rackets he runs are small time and the protection he provides necessary, given the minority status of the Chinese in Jamaica. Pao, in fact, is a sensitive guy in a wise guy role that doesn't quite fit. Often mystified by all that he must take care of, Pao invariably turns to Sun Tsu's Art of War. The juxtaposition of the weighty, aphoristic words of the ancient Chinese sage, and the tricky criminal and romantic predicaments Pao must negotiate goes far toward explaining the novel's great charm.

A tale of post-colonial Jamaica from a unique and politically potent perspective, Pao moves from the last days of British rule through periods of unrest at social and economic inequality, though tides of change that will bring Rastafarianism and the Back to Africa Movement. Jamaica is transforming: And what is the place of a Chinese man in this new order? Pao is an utterly beguiling, unforgettable novel of race, class and creed, love and ambition, and a country in the throes of tumultuous change.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781608196845
  • Publisher: BLOOMSBURY PUBLISHING
  • Publication date: 7/12/2011
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 1,101,148
  • File size: 2 MB

Meet the Author

Kerry Young was born in Kingston, Jamaica, to a Chinese father and a mother of mixed Chinese-African heritage. She came to England in 1965 and lives in Leicestershire.

kerryyoung.co.uk
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 5 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 20, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    One Out of Many

    Pao by Kerry Young introduces Yang Pao, a 14 year-old who is beginning life anew in Jamaica with his mother and brother. It is 1938 and Pao's father has died fighting in the Chinese Civil War. Their benefactor is the father's best friend Zhang, the godfather of Kingston's Chinatown. Zhang, who never married, has a place in his organization for the family, but it is Pao who seems to have the knack for the small-time rackets and protection services, and fills the void in Zhang's personal life. But, Jamaica at this time is not without strife while still a British Colony, the people are becoming vocal over better working conditions, and self-government, and trying to determine what is their identity as Jamaicans. As the years pass, and the conflict grows, battles between keeping the status quo or moving ahead with changes will not only affect the country but personal lives. Pao will be tested many times over the years to prove where his loyalties lie and as often with compromise all sides lose.

    Pao is an engaging novel that looks at the timeframe in Jamaican history not often told, from the pre-independence days of the 1930s to the independence in the 1960s to the political and economic unrest in the 1980s. With ease and captivating storytelling, the author takes us into the Jamaican Chinese world informing the reader of the vibrant community through the lives of the characters. Each chapter heading is a snippet from Sun Tzu's The Art of War, and while you would think this would be helpful in Pao's business practices, it is in his personal life that he employs the strategic advice. Pao is torn between his love for Gloria, a black Jamaican, and his need to earn respectability within the Chinese community and to honor Zhang. So Pao marries Fay, the privileged daughter of a wealthy Chinese businessman and his black wife, but she is repelled by his hoodlum life style. Gloria is now insulted that she is not good enough, but it is through her eyes that Pao gets his lessons on race, class and identity. Pao likes to think of himself as a gangster with a heart, and does do many deeds outside of the law because it is the right thing to do. But then heroism is in the eyes of the beholder and many will not see him as a hero.

    Ms. Young provides some historical background about the political events happening in Jamaica as after all it is the political climate which allows for the tolerance of gangs and their retribution of justice or in many cases injustice. I would have liked a little more detail into the political events and the characters that were important to Pao, but with that said, the structure does not take away from the enjoyment of the story. And in total all of the elements add to the freshness of this storyline. The pacing is brisk in this story driven by murder, corruption, blackmail, greed and incest. I recommend this book to readers who enjoy historical fiction with a different view, and those who enjoy learning about Caribbean history.

    Reviewed by Beverly
    APOOO Literary Book Review

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 19, 2011

    Great read and wonderfgul insights

    This is a mobster novel with a big jamaican twist of lime. In jamaica, the chinese mafia godfather is truly more of a neighbborhood uncle, at least originally, but follow discover and learn as jamaican history and post colonial colonialism subtly influence the way power is wielded in this fascinating story of a family. Pao, guided by theprincipals of the Art of War is a good man - or is he....?

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  • Posted October 4, 2011

    A fantastic Action/Dramatic book!

    It is 1938 when young Yang Pao moves from war-torn China to the sunny island of Jamaica. He is sent to Jamaica for a more peaceful life. He moves in to Matthews Lane with his uncle Zhang and his great Aunt Ma. Zhang is a top shot in the Chinese and Jamaican societies and is paid to "protect" people and run some local brothels. He learns the right and wrongs of Jamaica's violent streets. Throughout the book Pao contently refers to the principles from San Tzu's Art of War which he applies in what seems like his darkest hour. These principles help Pao escape the acts of murder, greed, and lust.
    This book was very colorful in the way that you could make out the surroundings almost perfectly. Young makes it seem real and vivid like a window view. She brings the Chinese Jamaica out of the paper and into the wild imagination of the reader. One thing you have to get used in the book though is the heavy Jamaican accents on the very Chinese characters. It clashes sometimes especially in the beginning making some of the introduction to the plot difficult.
    One major theme in the book was to follow through thoughts. Many times in the book Pao has the instinct for one thing but when he thinks about it and San Tzu he often makes a better choice that he later benefits from.
    The main reason I chose this book was because it was about a young Chinese immigrant. Even though I immigrated when I was younger than Pao it still fascinates me to learn and read about others even if there is an age difference. I really enjoyed this book and look forward to looking for Young's other books.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 15, 2011

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    Posted November 20, 2013

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