Golden Boy

Memories of a Hong Kong Childhood

Martin Booth

Thomas Dunne Books

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At seven years old, Martin Booth found himself with all of Hong Kong at his feet. His father was posted there in 1952, and this memoir is his telling of that youth, a time when he had access to the corners of a colony normally closed to a “Gweilo,” a “pale fellow” like him.

His experiences were colorful and vast. Befriending rickshaw coolies and local stallholders, he learned Cantonese, sampled delicacies such as boiled water beetles and one-hundred-year-old eggs, and participated in vibrant festivals. He even entered the forbidden Kowloon Walled City, wandered into a secret lair of Triads, and visited an opium den.

From the plink-plonk man with his dancing monkey to the Queen of Kowloon (a crazed tramp who may have been a Romanov), Martin Booth saw it all---but his memoir illustrates the deeper challenges he faced in his warring parents: a broad-minded mother who embraced all things Chinese and a bigoted father who was enraged by his family’s interest in “going native.”

Martin Booth’s compelling memoir, the last book he completed before dying, glows with infectious curiosity and humor and is an intimate representation of the now extinct time and place of his growing up.

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Book Excerpts

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Golden Boy
1PORT OUTFIFTY FEET BELOW, MY GRANDPARENTS STOOD SIDE BY SIDE. IT WAS A warm spring day, yet my paternal grandfather, Grampy, wore a grey trilby with a black band and an overcoat buttoned to his neck. From far off, he looked like a retired Chicago mobster. His wife wore a broad-brimmed Edwardian hat decorated with faded feathers and wax flowers, which, even at that distance, gave the impression of being on the verge of melting. Her mound of white hair being insufficiently dense to retain her hat pin, every time she craned her neck to look up at me, the hat slid off backwards and Grampy

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Reviews

Praise for Golden Boy

"Marvelously appealing memoir charts an enchanted few years of boyhood in post-war Hong Kong. Warm and vivid, bursting with life and energy, this is a valentine—but a clear-eyed one—to a particular place and time."--Kirkus (starred)
"One of the most original and engaging memoirs of recent years. Personal, witty, and true."--The Times (UK)
"Wonderful memoir...such pace and power."--Sunday Telegraph (UK)
"Highly evocative. As a sharp-eyed, sensitive child of a vanished Hong Kong, Booth earns his nostalgia."--The Daily Telegraph (UK)

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About the Author

Martin Booth

Martin Booth wrote the nonfiction histories Cannabis and Opium and the novel Hiroshima Joe, among many other books. He began this memoir of his childhood after he was diagnosed with a brain tumor in 2002 and died shortly after completing the manuscript in 2004. An internationally known, Booker Prize--shortlisted novelist and writer, Booth was considered an authority on everything from the history of Chinese organized crime syndicates to the conservation of the African rhino. Opium: A History is regarded as the definitive book on the subject, and he is the author of eight other works of nonfiction, eleven novels, and five works of children’s fiction.

Martin Booth

Martin Booth

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Available Formats and Book Details

Golden Boy
Memories of a Hong Kong Childhood
Martin Booth

e-Book Agency

e-Book Agency
St. Martin's Press
Thomas Dunne Books
November 2006
e-Book Agency
ISBN: 9781466818583
ISBN10: 1466818581
352 pages
$7.99

Trade Paperback

Trade Paperback
Picador
November 2006
Trade Paperback
ISBN: 9780312426262
ISBN10: 0312426267
5 1/2 x 8 1/4 inches, 352 pages
$19.00
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Thomas Dunne Books

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