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Pao

Narrated by: Kerry Young
Length: 9 hrs and 16 mins
Categories: Fiction, Literary
4.5 out of 5 stars (8 ratings)

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Summary

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 Tzu's Art of War. The juxtaposition of the weighty, aphoristic words of the ancient Chinese sage, with the tricky criminal and romantic predicaments Pao must negotiate builds the basis of 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, through tides of change that will bring about Rastafarianism and the Back to Africa Movement. Pao is an utterly beguiling, unforgettable novel of race, class and creed, love and ambition, and a country in the throes of tumultuous change.

Kerry Young was born in Kingston, Jamaica, to a Chinese-African mother and a Chinese father - a businessman in Kingston's shadow economy who provided inspiration for Pao. Young moved to England in 1965 at the age of ten. She earned her MA in creative writing at Nottingham Trent University. This is her first novel.

©2011 Kerry Young (P)2012 Audible, Inc.

Critic reviews

"Against a backdrop of Jamaican history, a likable Chinese-Jamaican runs rackets in this eye-opening, rambunctious debut.... Young leads from the heart (her father served as a model for Pao) to celebrate a resilient world that tourists never see. You’ll enjoy the view." (Kirkus Reviews)

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  • Anonlee
  • 29-05-19

a caribbean winner

i just loved the fact that the author decided to narrate this book. Her love for the characters shone through, not to mention the rocking jamaican accent. Pao is a "renaissance man." we see him morph and grow into a wonderful, loving father, a nuturing husband and a kind human being with integrity and depth.

Upheavals in both China and Jamaica have caused him and is family to reflect on the meaning of life all through the book.

I was not born in the Caribbean but i lived on one of the islands for 8 years during the 60s and early 70s . I truly understood some of the problems that the author interjected in the story. "The trail of tears", that the English colonists left ,was deeply felt by all and sundry.

How we all suffered and still suffer. Case in point, The black power movement in the early 70s
This was a catastrophe felt by non blacks on all the different islands. As the author pointed out in the book, the Arawaks are the only people that can lay claim to Jamaica and the other west indian islands. Non blacks may not have been brought over in slave ships, but the indians ,the mulatos and the chinese also suffered at the hands of the colonists. A person"s merit is/was based on the lightness of their skin. You have to live it to believe it. How many times we were chastised for spending too much time in the sun for fear that you would become to black and " what man is going to look at you"......

I think many people would enjoy this book, but a caribbean person or a caribbean person at heart will be just over the moon. The descriptions of the island, the food, the vegetaion and the local dialect all lend themselves to pulling the audience in closer to the characters.

This was a great trip down memory lane for me. Pao was the best! So happy to support Caribbean writers. It is a different style of prose which when properly presented is electrifing and speaks to the heart. Our broken language is bold and colourful and packs a dynamic punch. bravo! i have started to read Gloria, the second book in the trilogy. ....I look forward to making a review of this book. thank you miss Young.

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  • Pen Name
  • 23-04-18

A great story thats hard to hear

I absolutly love this book. the story is engaging and interesting and i thurally enjoyed the entire experience. Now my only gripe with this book is that its in broken English all throughout with the exception of a couple Americans and britins who speak proper engliah. but other than that its mostly the same, hard to understand at times, Jamaican English fused with chinese Engrish. It IS an autistic choice and one that i enjoyed but i recommend you try the sample before you buy.