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Sour Sweet

3.68 of 5 stars 3.68  ·  rating details  ·  452 ratings  ·  15 reviews
Paperback, 287 pages
Published July 1st 1999 by Paddleless Press (first published 1982)
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Excellent! In places had me laughing out loud, in places hard and cold as iron. A wonderfully penetrating portrayal of a Chinese immigrant family in England and the world they live in.
Sep 16, 2011 Magdelanye rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: everyone
This curious book did not give any warning, although the title might have alerted me.
This story of Chinese immigrants struggling to achieve security in a foreign land follows two separate casts of characters. There is the fragment of the family, Lily, her sister Mui,her Husband and Son. And there is the Hung family, ruthless gang members who are portrayed with equal sympathy by Mo who has the uncanny knack of zooming in and out of his various characters perspective and drawing our empathy even
I absolutely love this book but my Chen love is not shared with my friends! It's such a moving story and the way it flips from the heartwarming and funny Chens to the darker forces at work is very well done. You really feel as though you're part of the family.
Sour Sweet was exactly that, with more sour than sweet moments for me. In his novel, Timothy Mo shares the story of a Chinese family(wife Lily, Husband Chen, their young son Man Kee and the wife's sister Mui) attempting to build a life together in London, above the Chinese restaurant they've decided to open.

It is within this context that the flat, closed characters begin to take shape and open up, though slowly.

While the characters reveal themselves, we also see another story unfolding with Chi
Lila Kitaeff
About a family that immigrates to London from Hong Kong and starts up their own restaurant. Really fabulous characters, the kind that you miss when you finish the book.
I really enjoyed it. I am always interested in reading about the experiences of immigrants in their new homes. As somebody who has lived in another country, I appreciate their hard work, confusion, happiness and miscommunication. I like that this went back and forth between a "regular" family who moved from Hong Kong to London and a group of gangsters/mobsters also originally from Hong Kong. Watching the family try so hard to be happy and fulfilled at the same time as the mobsters are ruining th ...more
Mixed feelings about this one...I loved following the lives of the Chen family, although I didn't like Lily for most of the book. The parallel storyline involving the Triads was quite confusing as it went into a lot of details regarding their complex rules and values. However, in the final few chapters (I won't give away what happens as it will spoil the ending) these two storylines were resolved well. The ending was very bittersweet and sad, and a good ending (not all books have them!). Not a g ...more
Sweet or sour
A clever and funny (tongue firmly in cheek) read. I was fascinated by this take on Chinese in England. I don't know what kind of research Mo did and I wonder about how much exoticizing of gangs occurs here. But the read was certainly engaging.

His humor is intriguing. After reading Pure, I remain in awe of his ability to consistently use wit when writing about difficult, hearty, isoteric and sometimes absurd topics or occurrences.
Michael Walkden
Not too impressed with this novel. I found it patronising, and the details of British-Chinese life were at times minute enough to be mundane. The Chen family plotline could have functioned equally well without the (mostly peripheral) Hung connection. Still, Mo is an excellent wordsmith and certain passages were sublime. 2.5 stars.
I really liked how the author was able to let the reader see things from the eyes of a chinese immigrant family. It was kind of like culture shock reading about this family and the things they thought were logical from their cultural viewpoint. Definitely an interesting read.
Wondering if you and Arthur liked this one I sent after teaching it in Grenoble. I still think of it fondly and will read it again when I get my copy back and am retired. I liked how the Chinese speech and thought was rendered, among other things.
One of the funniest, subtlest and most penetrating novels I have read about what it means to be part of a family. In its own way, one of the most disturbing books on this topic.
Catherine Woodman
This is one of the first Asian authors I read and loved it--sad but smart and well written
very well-written with vivid and sensitive descriptions of the immigrant life.
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Textbook description? 1 3 May 24, 2015 03:14AM  
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Timothy Peter Mo is an Anglo-Chinese novelist. H e is the son of a British mother and a Hong Kong Chinese father. He came to britain as a ten year old.
More about Timothy Mo...
The Monkey King The Redundancy of Courage An Insular Possession Pure Renegade or Halo2

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