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. 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.
Faber and Faber
Publisher and industry reviews
'There's a depth and emotional candour here that, long after you have finished the book, is hard to forget... Fragrant Harbour is really a love letter to Hong Kong, redolent with the bright shine of romance and nostalgia for the indefinable essence of a place.' Observer 'Provides both the detail and panorama of a fascinating city... it has a cracking emotional thrust.' Financial Times
UK Kirkus review
This novel from the author of Mr Phillips and The Debt to Pleasure encompasses 70 years of Asian history and four very different but subtly connected lives. Dawn Stone, a British journalist, soon to become head of media liaison for one of the most powerful businessmen in Hong Kong, begins the narrative with the convincingly uncompromising tone of a new breed of successful businesswomen. This gives way to a deft change in style and tempo as the story is taken up by Tom Stewart, a courageous and thoughtful Englishman, as he leaves the family pub in Kent just before the great Depression to make his fortune running the best hotel in Hong Kong. The colony will become his lifelong home despite the horrors of the Japanese invasion and internment and the atrocities of the Triads. His close and enduring friendship with a beautiful nun named Sister Maria forms the lynchpin of the novel. It is testament to Lanchester's technical mastery that, with only one page of her own narrative, the brave and dignified Maria is the pivotal character in the book, her short contribution providing the key to the relationships which connect the characters. Finally, a Chinese entrepreneur, Matthew Ho, brings us back to the harsh realities of modern-day Hong Kong as he struggles to keep his successful company afloat following the handing back of the colony to China in 1997 and in the face of endemic corruption. Despite the huge scope of the novel, Lanchester has produced a book which, at some 300 pages in the hardback edition, is tightly structured and finely crafted. His elegant prose evokes vividly a place with its own unique character and history, whilst his beautifully observed characters create a moving and compelling plot. (Kirkus UK)
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