I’ve been given the great honour of reading and sharing my thoughts on PP Wong’s début novel The Life of A Banana (Legend Press Ltd) which is due for release in September 2014.
Début novels are always special events (well at least I think they are) and this work in my honest opinion is special. Special in that it speaks directly to me as person, who happens to be, female and East Asian.
But this story will engage anyone.
There is a beauty and attractiveness about PP Wong’s pure, simple, uncomplicated and honest style. Which made it so easy to read and so very difficult to put the novel down. From the witty and ironic chapter titles, the equivalent of literary dim sum, to the sometimes dramatic memories of loved ones. Of places, of being a child in a big world.
We see life from the inside. From the perspective of a visible ethnic minority. For those of us, who in spite of having been born or raised in Britain, who are still viewed as outsiders and foreigners. This work will resonate. It opens a window into a little talked about (in real terms) section of British society, the British-Chinese. PP Wong takes you through the lives of Lai-Ker and his “lil sis” Xing-Li. The observations are so on point. Although I was brought up in the swinging 60s, this novel shows how much little has changed in societal attitudes towards the British East Asians.
What I found most satisfying and interesting was the blend and balance that PP Wong manages to achieve in her writing about the older, more traditional ways of the Grandmother and the struggle that the new British Born Chinese children (Lai-Ker and Xing-Li) encounter. What are they, who are they? I won’t spoil things for the reader, but what I will say is this; This is a work that offers much and does not disappoint. It engages the reader with drama, emotion, humour and a little sadness. Congratulations to PP Wong, a novel worth reading.