Paul Theroux – Kowloon Tong

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Grāmatas apraksts no Goodreads/Synopsis from Goodreads:

Ninety-nine years of colonial rule are ending as the British prepare to hand over Hong Kong to China. For Betty Mullard and her son, Bunt, it doesn’t concern them – until the mysterious Mr. Hung from the mainland offers them a large sum for their family business. They refuse, yet fail to realize Mr. Hung is unlike the Chinese they’ve known: he will accept no refusals. When a young female employee whom Bunt has been dating vanishes, he is forced to make important decisions for the first time in his life – but his good intentions are pitted against the will of Mr. Hung and the threat of the ultimate betrayal.

Izdevniecība/Publisher: Penguin

Kā tiku pie šīs grāmatas?/How I got this book?

Samainīju ar citu Latvijas Grāmatu izstādes 2016 maiņas punktā.

Vērtējums/Rating: 3.25/5

Mana recenzija (pārdomas)/My (thoughts) review

Darbības laiks (pamatā) 1996.gads, darbības vieta Honkonga. Īpašs šis periods ir tāpēc, ka nākamā gada 1.jūlijā šī teritorija no britu kontroles (pēdējā lielā kolonija) pāries Ķīnas īpašumā. Man šāds vēsturisks fakts bija jaunums un neliels pārsteigums, asociējot koloniju beigu posmu ar vismaz dažu desmitgažu senāku laiku.

Bants, pēc negaidītas partnera nāves, ir jaunais rūpnīcas (Imperial Stitching) vienīgais īpašnieks; līdz pat 43 gadu vecumam Bants nav piekopis stabilas ilgtermiņa attiecības (ērtāk jūtas, izmantojot priekšnieka statusu pret darbiniecēm), un nav retums darba dienas beigās, vai pat tās laikā, viņu sastapt kādā bārā/klubā. Šo Bants uztver kā vienu no retajiem, mazajiem noslēpumiem no mātes Betijas; sajūtas drusku dumpiniecisks.

Betijai izskatās padevies izaudzināt pat ļoti paklausīgu dēlu, varbūt saskata viņā daļu no tēva rakstura un uzvedības. Ja viņa ir ko ieņēmusi prātā, vai kā citādi, tad Bants bieži vien bez lielām ierunām (varbūt vienīgi nedaudz paīdēs) paļausies mātes viedoklim. Betija pārāk arī neieklausās, ja nu Bants tomēr cenšas oponēt; patīk apmeklēt hipodromu.

Tā lūk, apmēram gadu pirms Honkongas pārņemšanas Bantu uzrunā Ķīnas pārstāvis Hangs ar piedāvājumu par miljons mārciņām pārpirkt rūpnīcu ar nosacījumu, ka Bants un Betija laicīgi dodas prom. Tomēr nevarētu teikt, ka Hangs dod dižas izvēles iespējas, jo alternatīva, ja Bants atsaka, ir tāda, ka pēc gada Ķīna pārņem rūpnīcu tik un tā, un miljona vietā Bants saņem vien grašus.

Kowloon Tong tajā pašā laikā stāsta par britu kopienas attiecībām ar vietējiem, kur daļa uzskata savi vismaz par klasi pārākiem, par mīlestību un varbūtēju tās sajaukšanu ar iegribu, par mātes un dēla attiecībām u.c.

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The year is 1996 and the setting Hong Kong. This time is special because on 1st July 1997 this territory from a British last big colony becomes a property of China. For me this historical fact was a novelty and a little surprise, as I usually associate the end of colony time few decades earlier.

Bunt, after unexpected partner’s death, becomes the only owner of the factory Imperial Stitching. Even at the age of 43 he isn’t a fan of stable, long term relationships, it’s more convenient for him to use his status at work; also it isn’t unusual for him be at a (strip) bar during the work day. For Bunt this is one of few precious, little secrets that he manages to keep from his mother Betty. I guess it gives him a rebellious feeling.

Betty has been successful to raise a very obedient son, and maybe she sees in him some traits from his father. If Betty has something in mind, then most of the times Bunt won’t oppose or will be easily persuaded (maybe a little whining); also Betty frequently visits hippodrome.

So, about one year before Hong Kong becomes a part of China Bunt receives an offer from a mysterious Mr. Hung, and it’s to buy the factory for one million pounds with a condition that Bunt and Betty will leave Hong Kong before the handover. However I can’t say that Hung gives them a big choice of what to do, as the probable alternative is the after a year China takes over the factory anyways and that Bunt instead of a million receives only a small change of it.

Besides all that Kowloon Tong also tells a story about the relationship between British community and locals, where many of the former believe that they are superior, about love that possibly is mistaken with want and opportunity, about relationship between mother and son etc.

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