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A Superior Man

3.13  ·  Rating details ·  63 ratings  ·  11 reviews
For more than thirty years, Paul Yee has written about his Chinese-Canadian heritage in award-winning books for young readers as well as adult non-fiction. Here, in his first work of fiction for adults, he takes us on a harrowing journey into a milestone event of Canadian history: the use of Chinese coolies to help build the Canadian Pacific Railway in British Columbia in ...more
Paperback, 380 pages
Published November 10th 2015 by Arsenal Pulp Press (first published October 19th 2015)
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Average rating 3.13  · 
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Andy Wilkins
Apr 09, 2016 rated it liked it
I found this book interesting from the perspective of local history as I currently live in Vancouver. Paul Yee is clearly an expert on the topic of early Chinese settlers in Canada. It led me to research more on this topic and that many of the towns mentioned in the book now have only a couple of hundred inhabitants. I liked also how the Hok had such a realistic personality, an absolute anti-hero, but with aspirations to be a better person. Generally, he fails miserably.

Though I enjoyed the cont
Janet Fraser
An interesting account of a period in the life of a Chinese "guest worker" on the Canadian railway, a topic woefully lacking in the Canadian historical record. The story appears to be well researched and true to life. A must-read for anyone interested in Canadian history.
Thankfully, the author remains mindful of the dignity of Canadian First Nations people throughout.
I don't know anything about the Chinese language but the diction and cadences of the story seem a bit foreign to Canadian English;
Mar 07, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2016
Tells the story a Chinese former railway worker who discovers he has a son who is half First Nations. I loved the historic details in this story.

Set in 1885, Paul Yee, a talented writer and historian, does a great job of recreating and revealing the early history of the Chinese in Canada, a subject near and dear to my heart.
Nov 19, 2015 rated it liked it
good story over all but found that it didn't flow ...more
Dec 26, 2021 rated it liked it
I love historical novels and finding one set in BC is always exciting for me. I actually finished this shortly after the town of Lytton, which figures prominently in this story, burned down, which was a little eerie.
Overall, the main character is mostly unlikable, but I think the flip-flopping between wanting to do the right thing and then not is the most exasperating part of the story. By the ending, which leaves you kind of befuddled, you wish he would just make up his mind.
Kudos for the sheer
Oct 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
Audiobook version. I feel I learned a fair bit about Chinese/Aboriginal/European-Western interactions during the time of the building of the CPR (and after the majority of work was done, when Chinese men were encouraged to return home, but it was difficult to do so). Since it was set in BC, I recognized quite a lot of locations, which is always kind of neat.
Tracey MG
Feb 18, 2018 rated it it was ok
Wanted to love this historical fiction but... didn't
Couldnt engage or get invested in the characters and found the language difficult to get used to.
Aug 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Loved it. Want to read more from this authorm
Patricia Filteau
Jun 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A Superior Man,
by Paul Yee, 2015
Arsenal Pulp Press
* quotations on words respect the choice and style of the author.

Thank you Paul Yee for writing this story. It takes up a place on my bookshelf alongside the Orenda by Joseph Boyden.

Paul Yee in A Superior Man breathes life into history as he relates, in first person, the experiences of Yang Hok, a ‘Coolie’ who came to BC to work on the building of the railway. The reader accompanies Yang Hok on a seven day journey from Victoria to Cache Creek an
Mario Dumouchel
Nov 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
A great historical fiction based on the accounts of Chinese worker on the Canadian railway written as a translated memoir. I liked the racial complexity presented in this book. The main character Yang seemed to be well portrayed as an everyday railway worker with all the bitterness and regret that must come with working in a hostile workplace. The way he treated his illegitimate son, who is half Native, was a great reflection to how the rest of the white colonists treated the Native and immigran ...more
Oct 09, 2015 marked it as to-read
Had to return it today, only on p. 55. Part of BC and Canada's history, with inclusion of related US west coast history of same time, with railroad building and gold rushes. ...more
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Paul Yee never planned to be an author but got published in 1983 and followed up with over twenty books in his area of obsession: Chinese immigrants to North America. He wrote mostly for young readers, from picture books to Young Adult fiction, as well as histories for everyone. His university degrees in history, plus working as an archivist, plunged him into researching the past. His work has bee ...more

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