June 14, 2006

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Book Review: Gweilo

Gweilo by Martin Booth

Nostalgia typically doesn't translate well into book form, especially when the author's topic is himself. But Martin Booth's Gweilo is an exception to the rule. The reason? Because Booth has actually written a character study dressed up as a memior. Set against a Hong Kong recovering from Japanese occupation in World War 2, Booth paints a portrait of a woman who was far ahead of her time in her open-mindedness, her intelligence, her forthrightness and her foresight. Who is this woman? His mother. Now while many little boys worship their mother, it would truly seem that in Booth's case she was an exceptional woman.

Booth's book is deceptively easy to read, which shows how well it has been written. A young Booth dives head-first into the Hong Kong milieu and ends up far richer for the experience. His father, on the other hand, was the very caricature of an English expat, in Hong Kong under suffrance and worried about his wife and child "going native". There are still many parallels with today's expats in the two kinds of experiencces.

This book shouldn't be restricted to those with an interest in Hong Kong in the early 1950s, although it will give a first-hand window into those times. It is also an exceptional memoir thanks to its strongly drawn protaganist. Well worth a read.

posted by Simon on 06.14.06 at 01:22 PM in the Reviews category.


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It's an excellent book!

I also reviewed it a while back (in case anyone's interested).

posted by: Chris on 06.15.06 at 09:14 AM [permalink]

Now you mention it, I do remember you reviewing it too. I only just got around to it.

posted by: Simon on 06.15.06 at 02:11 PM [permalink]

Holla and Happy Thanksgiving. nokia6630

posted by: jon on 07.02.06 at 12:31 AM [permalink]

Great work!
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posted by: Justin on 07.12.06 at 04:49 PM [permalink]

Thank you!
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posted by: Raymond on 07.12.06 at 04:54 PM [permalink]

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