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Five Star Billionaire: A Novel Hardcover – July 2, 2013
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An Amazon Best Book of the Month, July 2013: In his ambitious third novel, Tash Aw draws a luminous portrait of four new, disparate arrivals to Shanghai: a venerable business woman, a pop star, a factory girl turned socialite, and an inheritor of his family real-estate, all of whose fates are tied to an elusive billionaire. But Five Star Billionaire is as much about people as it is about place: Shanghai represents the booming economic growth of China. It's a city of over 23 million people--some trying to make a name for themselves, others just trying to get by (for comparison sake, that's nearly three times as many people as New York City). By the end, Five Star Billionaire doesn't feel so foreign. The characters don't find personal fulfillment, but they're finally moving in the right direction. Aw reveals that the American Dream isn't so uniquely American as it is a byproduct of capitalism. Or perhaps it's a byproduct of the human condition: money becomes a way to quantify one's worth, to cure one's unhappiness. In such a big city, everything that matters is inward. --Kevin Nguyen
Phoebe secures a fake ID and a self-help manual to scale the gilded staircase of Shanghai. Ambitious businesswoman Yinghui risks a fortune on real estate with a mysterious magnate. Once wealthy Justin, whose ruined family desperately needs his financial savvy, emerges from his high-rise bunker to face an empire in shambles. And after a drunken meltdown, former teen idol Gary has been reduced to playing small-town shopping centers. Each character in this quartet has emigrated from Aw’s own native Malaysia, seduced by the neon profile of metropolitan China, unknowingly connected through Walter Chao, author of the eponymous Secrets of a Five Star Billionaire. Aw travels through time, spinning backstories, shifting narrative focus, and peppering the novel with selections from Chao’s guide to success. As with his previous novels, The Harmony Silk Factory (2005) and Map of the Invisible World (2010), Aw’s plot unwinds in slow, noir-like spirals, almost refusing to resolve. And like Dickensian London and Fitzgerald’s New York, Aw’s setting limns a new China flush with fresh capital and cheap labor. An urban complement to Mo Yan’s Pow! (2012). --Diego Báez
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The book is an entertaining read. I recommend it.
Highly recommend for someone who would like to get more emotional feel of China's new gold rush.
Five Star Billionaire is an exciting and thought provoking read. I enjoyed every minute reading Five Star Billionaire.. This book will make you think and the ending is not at all as I expected it would be.
Thank You, Tash Aw for sharing this book with your readers.