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Fragrant Harbour

Fragrant Harbour

Author(s): John Lanchester

Location(s): Hong Kong

Genre(s): Fiction

Era(s): 1930s onwards

Location

Content

In Fragrant Harbour much of the story is told in the words of Tom Stewart, a young Englishman who sails to Hong Kong in the 1930s and ends up spending the rest of his long life there. The voice of Stewart–reserved, humane and understated–is as finely achieved as those in the earlier novels. Through his eyes we see Hong Kong’s 20th-century history. The class-ridden and racially divided society of the 1930s is given the brutal awakening of the Japanese occupation. After the war, the old Hong Kong disappears and the city is transformed by economic boom and entrepreneurial energy. The approaching return of the city to mainland China brings its own problems, anxieties and upheavals.

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Lead Review

‘Provides both the detail and panorama of a fascinating city… it has a cracking emotional thrust.’ Financial Times

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