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Tash Aw was born in Taipei, in the Republic of China, and brought up in Malaysia. He moved to England in his teens and now lives in London. He is the author of `The Harmony Silk Factory', which was the winner of the Whitbread First Novel Award and the Commonwealth Writers' Prize for Best First Novel and was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize, and `Map of the Invisible World'. His most recent novel, `Five Star Billionaire', was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2013.
Think of Aw's third novel as an ingenious game called "How To Be a Billionaire." A how-to guide is interspersed with 30 rules that also serve as chapters, e.g., "Move to Where the Money Is," "Always Rebound After Each Failure," "Strive To Understand the Big Picture." The playing board is Shanghai, that 21st-century city of limitless possibility; the power broker is the eponymous Five Star Billionaire. A quartet of players-all Malaysian immigrants-are revealed one by one: country girl Phoebe, real estate heir Justin, pop superstar Gary, and businesswoman Yinghui, who is about to multiply her success. Aw moves fluidly between past and present, creating a multilayered narrative about chasing, catching, and sometimes losing elusive opportunities. VERDICT London-based Aw, who spent a year in Shanghai on a writing fellowship, has honed his experiences into a literary victory. Admirers of Aw's The Harmony Silk Factory, which won a Whitbread Award and a Commonwealth Prize and was long-listed for the Man Booker, and Map of the Invisible World will clamor to read this, his best thus far. Fiction aficionados with international tastes will surely fall in line as well.-Terry Hong, Smithsonian BookDragon, Washington, DC (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
`Aw's tale of five migrant workers carving out lives in a modernising Shanghai is the stuff of a hit TV miniseries ... the reading experience it offers is coolly engrossing' Adam Mars-Jones, Observer `A brilliant, sprawling, layered and unsentimental portrayal of contemporary China' Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie 'A fascinating cast of characters ... a panoramic, expertly detailed painting of contemporary Shanghai' Sunday Times `"Five Star Billionaire" opens with a bang, not a whimper ... Aw is a master storyteller and "Five Star Billionaire" can be read as "The Way We Live Now" for our times' Aminatta Forna, Guardian `[Aw] is unmatched at evoking the smells and sounds of the land and cityscapes, the figures of speech and shifting cultural mores of that finger-like peninsula that pokes into the South China Sea ...Their tales are told chapter by chapter, the characters slowly drawing closer together like flotsam in a vortex, before the stunning finale ...There is wit here, and plenty of acute observation and characterisation' Independent on Sunday `A new kind of immigrant novel. One that takes place in our increasingly mutlipolar world and is ...a challenge to the old narrative' Sunday Telegraph `The five characters are distinct, and Aw manages to bring them together well ... Aw brilliantly recreates the intonations and vocabulary of someone educated only in Chinese' Independent `Highly topical, sharply observed but affecting portmanteau novel' Independent, `Books of the Year' `A splendid achievement. The narrative ... is brilliantly designed, a puzzle whose pieces click satisfyingly into place - Aw's book could scarcely be bettered' Independent on Sunday `Aw's style - terse but tender, lightly ironic without being snide - is fresh, bracing and, above all, compassionate. His characters ... form profound impressions on the reader. One simply cares deeply what happens to them, and this skilled writer never makes that an easy matter to predict' Scotsman