Gweilo by Martin Booth
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By Martin Booth


Memories of a Hong Kong Childhood

By (author) See other recent books by Martin Booth
Format: Paperback

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Gweilo by Martin Booth

Book Description

Martin Booth died in February 2004, shortly after finishing the book that would be his epitaph - this wonderfully remembered, beautifully told memoir of a childhood lived to the full in a far-flung outpost of the British Empire...An inquisitive seven-year-old, Martin Booth found himself with the whole of Hong Kong at his feet when his father was posted there in the early 1950s. Unrestricted by parental control and blessed with bright blond hair that signified good luck to the Chinese, he had free access to hidden corners of the colony normally closed to a Gweilo, a 'pale fellow' like him. Befriending rickshaw coolies and local stallholders, he learnt Cantonese, sampled delicacies such as boiled water beetles and one-hundred-year-old eggs, and participated in colourful festivals. He even entered the forbidden Kowloon Walled City, wandered into the secret lair of the Triads and visited an opium den. Along the way he encountered a colourful array of people, from the plink plonk man with his dancing monkey to Nagasaki Jim, a drunken child molester, and the Queen of Kowloon, the crazed tramp who may have been a member of the Romanov family. Shadowed by the unhappiness of his warring parents, a broad-minded mother who, like her son, was keen to embrace all things Chinese, and a bigoted father who was enraged by his family's interest in 'going native', Martin Booth's compelling memoir is a journey into Chinese culture and an extinct colonial way of life that glows with infectious curiosity and humour.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780553816723
ISBN-10: 0553816721
Format: Paperback
(198mm x 127mm x 24mm)
Pages: 384
Imprint: Bantam Books (Transworld Publishers a division of the Random House Group)
Publisher: Transworld Publishers Ltd
Publish Date: 1-Aug-2005
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

Other Editions...

Books By Author Martin Booth

War Dog by Martin Booth War Dog, Paperback / softback (April 2016)

Jet, a black Labrador, was well-trained by a young English poacher, Fred Parry. When Fred is caught and jailed shortly before the outbreak of World War II, Jet is requisitioned by the army, where her training stands her in good stead. This is the fast-paced story about a remarkable dog whom the reader soon comes to love.

American by Martin Booth American, Paperback (October 2010)

The locals in the Italian village where he lives call him Signor Farfalla - Mr Butterfly. He is a discreet gentleman who spends his time studying rare butterflies. But Farfalla's real profession is deadly. He considers himself an artisan, not for the butterflies he paints but for the guns he creates for assassins.

Golden Boy by Martin Booth Golden Boy, Paperback / softback (November 2006)

The last work of the internationally known, Booker-shortlisted writer is a memoir of growing up in 1950s Hong Kong.

Cannabis by Martin Booth Cannabis, Paperback (July 2004)

Whatever the viewpoint and by whatever nickname it is known, the drug cannabis always incites debate. Martin Booth traces the history of the plant and its derivatives back to the Neolithic period. He paints a colourful picture of medical advances, subterfuge, religious enlightenment, smuggling and gang warfare.

» View all books by Martin Booth


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Author Biography - Martin Booth

Martin Booth is internationally known as a writer and biographer. An acclaimed novelist, his The Industry of Souls was shortlisted for the Booker Prize in 1998. When he was diagnosed with a brain tumour in 2002 he was inspired to delve into his Hong Kong childhood and write Gweilo. He died in February 2004, shortly after completing the manuscript

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