Editorial Reviews. meteolille.info Review. An Amazon Best Book of the Month, July In his ambitious third novel, Tash Aw draws a luminous portrait of four . Get Free Read & Download Files Five Star Billionaire Tash Aw PDF. FIVE STAR BILLIONAIRE TASH AW. Download: Five Star Billionaire Tash Aw. FIVE STAR. the five star billionaire of the novel, who with his secrets and his schemes has a . Five Star Billionaire: A Novel by Tash Aw Free PDF d0wnl0ad, audio books.
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Five Star Billionaire by Tash Aw - Free download as PDF File .pdf), Text File .txt) or read online for free. prudenzio pirozzi for your safety and comfort, read carefully e-books five star billionaire tash aw librarydoc13 pdf this our library download file free pdf ebook. Five Star Billionaire. Phoebe has come to China buoyed with hope, but her dreams are shattered as the job she was promised seems never to have existed.
Gary is a country boy turned pop star who is spinning out of control. He has long harbored a crush on Yinghui , a poetry-loving, left-wing activist who has reinvented herself as a successful Shanghai businesswoman. Yinghui is about to make a deal with the shadowy Walter Chao , the five star billionaire of the novel, who with his secrets and his schemes has a hand in the lives of each of the characters. Five Star Billionaire is a dazzling, kaleidoscopic novel that offers rare insight into the booming world of Shanghai, a city of elusive identities and ever-changing skylines, of grand ambitions and outsize dreams.
Aw is a patient writer, and an elegant one. Through five distinct Malaysian-Chinese voices, Mr. Aw wonderfully expresses the grit and cosmopolitan glamour of Shanghai today. Aw has done more than merely satirize a social milieu; he has created a cast of compelling characters, all of whom have come to Shanghai to remake themselves, yet are haunted by their pasts in ways that they barely understand.
In Five Star Billionaire, Mr. Aw has achieved something remarkable. Five Star Billionaire is a fiercely contemporary tale of tradition, modernity and the cost of progress. Aw brings to its whirligig, cashed-up culture the hyperobservant eye and the sympathetic heart he displayed in The Harmony Silk Factory and Map of the Invisible World. As Aw orchestrates the overlapping of his lost souls, the story comes to acquire the mirrored complexity of its setting.
As an evocation of a world in which friendships are business deals and people conduct virtual lives. Five Star Billionaire is hard to beat.
The ambition of the book perfectly reflects its subject. The unputdownable story of how these lives interconnect and touch upon the billionaire of the title, a shadowy avenging angel, is played out against the noisy, glitzy backdrop of a society on the cusp between abandoning old values and embracing a lifestyle as flashy as its neon glow.
Exciting plot twists and page-turning drama are aplenty. When the place is Shanghai, and when that writer is Tash Aw, we get a novel that is as multifaceted as the city itself, in which stories of the old and the new, the rich and the poor, the dreaming and the disillusioned, are woven together by a master storyteller.
Tash Aw is an essential voice for the global world we live in today. The playing board is Shanghai, that twenty-first-century city of limitless possibility; the power broker is the epyonymous Five Star Billionaire.
A quartet of players. Aw moves fluidly between past and present, creating a multilayered narrative about chasing, catching, and sometimes losing elusive opportunities. She had started keeping a diary. Every day she would write down her darkest fears and craziest ambitions.
It was a technique shed learnt from a self-help master one day in Guangzhou as she waited in a noodle shop, killing time just after she had been to the Human Resources Market. A small TV had been set on top of the glass counter next to jars of White Rabbit sweets, but at rst she did not pay attention, she thought it was just the news.
Then she realised that it was a DVD of an inspirational life-teacher, a woman who talked about how she had turned her life around and now wanted to show the rest of us how we too could transform our lowly, invisible existence into a life of eternal happiness and success.
Phoebe liked the way the woman looked straight at her, holding her gaze so steadily that Phoebe felt embarrassed, shamed by her own failure, the complete lack of even the tiniest achievement in her life. The woman had shimmering lacquered hair that was classy but not old-fashioned.
She showed how a mature woman can look 6. She had so many wise things to say, so many clever sayings and details on how to be successful. If only Phoebe had had a pen and paper she would have written down every single one, because now she cannot remember much except the feeling of courage the woman had given her, words about not being afraid of being on ones own, far from home.
It was as if she had looked into Phoebes head and listened to all the anxieties that were spinning around inside, as if she had been next to Phoebe as she lay awake at night wondering how she was going to face the next day. Phoebe felt a release, as if someone had lifted a great mountain of rocks from her shoulders, as if someone had said, You are not alone, I understand your troubles, I understand your loneliness, I am also like you.
And Phoebe thought, The moment I have some money, the rst thing I am going to buy is your book. I will not even buy an LV handbag or a new HTC smartphone, I am going to buy your words of wisdom and study them the way some people study the Bible. The book was called Secrets of a Five Star Billionaire. This is something Phoebe would never forget. One tip that did stick in her mind was the diary, which the woman did not call a diary but a Journal of Your Secret Self, in which you would write down all your black terrors, everything that made you fearful and weak, alongside everything you dream of.
You must have more positive dreams than burdensome fears. Once you write something in this book it cannot harm you any more because the fears are conquered by the dreams on the opposite page. So when you are successful you can read this journal one last time before you discard it forever, and you will smile to see how afraid and underdeveloped you were, because you will have come so far.
Then you will throw this book away into the Huangpu River and your past self will disappear, leaving only the glorious reborn product of your dreams. She started the journal six months ago, but still her dreams had not cancelled out her fears. It would happen soon.
It had to. I must not let this city crush me down. Phoebe looked around the caf. The chairs were mustard-yellow and grey, the walls unpainted concrete, as if the work had not yet been nished, but she knew that it was meant to look like this, it was considered fashionable.
On the terrace outside there were foreigners sitting with their faces tilted towards the sun they did not mind their skin turning to leather. Someone got up to leave and suddenly there was a table free next to the Brazilian-music lover. He was with a girl. Maybe it was his sister and not a girlfriend. Phoebe sat down next to them and turned her body away slightly to show she was not interested in what they were doing.
But in the reection in the window the sun was shining brightly that day, it was almost Mid-Autumn Festival and the weather was crisp, golden, perfect for dreaming she could see them quite clearly.
The girl was bathed in crystal light as if on a stage, and the boy was cut in half by a slanting line of darkness. Every time he leant forward he came into the light.
His skin was like candlewax. As the girl bent over her magazine, Phoebe could see that she was denitely a girlfriend, not a sister. Her hair fell over her face, so Phoebe could not tell if she was pretty, but she sat the way a pretty person would. The handbag on the oor was made of leather so soft it seemed to melt into the ground. It spread out at the girls feet like an exotic pet, and Phoebe wanted to stroke its cross-hatch pattern to see what it felt like. The boy leant forward and in the mirrored reection he caught Phoebes eye.
He said something to his girlfriend in Shanghainese which Phoebe couldnt understand, and the girl looked up at Phoebe with a sideways glance. It was something Shanghainese girls had perfected, this method of looking at you side-on without turning their faces to you.
It meant that they could show off their ne cheekbones and appear uninterested at 8. Phoebe looked away at once. Her cheeks felt hot. Do not let other people step on you. Sometimes Shanghai weighed down on her with the weight of ten skyscrapers.
The people were so haughty, their dialect so harsh to her ears. If someone talked to her in their language she would feel attacked just by the sound of it. She had come here full of hope, but on some nights, even after she had deposited all her loathing and terror into her secret journal, she still felt that she was tumbling down, down, and there was no way up.
It had been a mistake to gamble as she did. She was not from any part of China, but from a country thousands of miles to the south, and in that country she had grown up in a small town in the far north-east. It is a region that is poor and remote, so she is used to people thinking of her as inferior, even in her own country.
In her small town the way of life had not changed very much for fty years, and would probably never change. Visitors from the capital city used to call it charming, but they didnt have to live there. It was not a place for dreams and ambition, and so Phoebe did not dream. She did what all the other young boys and girls did when they left school at sixteen: Here are some of the jobs her friends took in the year they left home. Trainee waiter. Assistant fake-watch stall-holder.
Karaoke hostess. Assembly-line worker in a semiconductor factory. Bar girl. Shampoo girl. Water-cooler delivery man. Seafood-restaurant cleaner. Phoebes rst job was among those listed above, but she 9. Five years in these kinds of jobs, they passed so slowly. Then she had some luck. There had been a girl whod disappeared. Everyone thought she was in trouble shed been hanging out with a gangster, the kind of big-city boy you couldnt tell your small-town parents about, and everyone thought it wouldnt be long before she was into drugs or prostitution; they were sure of it because she had turned up one day with a big jade bracelet and a black eye.
But from nowhere Phoebe received an email from this girl. She wasnt in trouble, she was in China. Shed just decided that enough was enough, and left one morning without telling her boyfriend. Shed saved enough money to go to Hong Kong, where shed been a karaoke hostess for a while she was not ashamed to say it because everyone does it, but it was not for long and now she was working in Shenzhen.
She was a restaurant manager, a classy international place, not some dump, you know, and she was in charge of a staff of sixteen. She even had her own apartment photo attached small but bright and modern with a vase of plastic roses on a glass table. Thing is, shed met a businessman from Beijing who was going to marry her and take her up north, and she wanted to make sure everything was OK at the restaurant before she left. They always needed good waiting staff at New World Restaurant.
Just come! Dont worry about visas. We can x that. There were two smiley faces and a winky one at the end of the email. Those days were so exciting, when they emailed each other several times a day. What clothes shall I bring? What is the winter weather like? What kind of shoes do I need for my uniform? Each email that arrived from China made Phoebe feel that she was one step closer to lifting herself up in the world and becoming someone successful.
It made the hair salon where she was working at the time seem so small the clients were small people who did not realise how small they were. When they said to her, Hey, Phoebe, you are not concentrating, she just laughed inside because she knew that very soon she would be the one giving them orders and She was going to experience adventures and see things that none of them could even dream about.
It took her a few weeks to get enough money together for the ticket to Hong Kong plus a bit extra to get her to Shenzhen, but from then on it would be plain sailing, because she had a job lined up and she would stay with her friend for the rst couple of months until she found her own place.
She didnt need all that much money, she would start making plenty once she got there, her friend assured her. From then on anything was possible. She could start her own business doing whatever she wanted some former waitresses at the restaurant were already going around in chauffeur-driven cars just a year after they quit their jobs.
New China was amazing, she would see for herself.
No one asks too many questions, no one cares where you are from. All that counts is your ability. If you can do a job, youre hired. People say that it is hard to leave their lives behind, and that when the time comes for you to do so you will feel reluctance and longing for your home.
But these are people with nice lives to leave behind. For others it is different.
Leaving is a relief. The emails continued, full of!!! Not even a short message that said, Hurry, too excited, followed by lots of smileys. When at last she got to Shenzhen it took her some time to locate the restaurant. The sign was proud and shiny. New World International Restaurant, it read above twin pillars of twisted gold dragons Phoebe recognised it from the photos her friend had sent her.
The menu was in a glass case outside, a sure sign of a classy joint. But as she approached, Phoebes heart began to experience a dark uttering in her ribcage, the way she imagined bat wings would feel against her cheek. It was a sensation that would stay with her for the rest of her time in China. The glass doors were open, but the restaurant inside was dim even though it was the middle of the afternoon.
When she stepped Part of the oor had been ripped up, and on the bare concrete she could see messy patches of glue where carpets had once been laid. There was a bar decorated with scenes of Chinese legends carved in bronze, cranes ying over mountains and lakes. Some workmen were shifting machinery and tools at the far end of the restaurant, and when Phoebe called out to them they seemed confused.
The restaurant had closed down a few days ago, soon it would be a hotpot chain. The people who worked there? Probably just got jobs somewhere else. No one stays in a job for long in Shenzhen anyway. She thought, This is not a good situation. She tried calling her friends mobile phone number, but it was dead.
This number is out of use, the voice told her, over and over again. Each time she dialled it was the same. This number is out of use. She checked how much money she had and began looking for a cheap guesthouse. The streets were clean but full of people. Everyone looked as though they were hurrying to an appointment, everyone had some place to go. Amid the mass of people that swarmed around her like a thick muddy river, she started to notice a certain kind of person, and soon they were the only people she really saw.
Young single women. They were everywhere, rushing for the bus or marching steadfastly with a steely look on their faces, or going from shop to shop handing out their CVs, their entire lives on one sheet of paper. They were all restless, they were all moving, they were all looking for work, oating everywhere, casting out their lives to whoever would take them.
So this is how it happens. This is how I become like them, Phoebe thought. In the space of a few hours she had passed from one world to another. One moment she was almost an assistant manager in a classy international restaurant, next moment she was a migrant worker. Her new life had materialised out of thin air like a trick of fate.
Unattached, searching, alone. Some people say that when you nd other people who are just like you, who share your Knowing that she was the same as millions of other girls made her feel lonelier than ever. She went back to her lodgings. The door wouldnt lock, so she slept with her handbag tucked into her belly, curved into a tight C-shape. Those rst few months in Shenzhen passed very quickly.
During this time Phoebe did a number of jobs that she would rather not talk about right now. Maybe some day, but not now. You can only rely on yourself. There are no true friends in this world.
If you place your trust in others you will open yourself to danger and hurtfulness. She got a job at a place called Guangdong Bigfaith Quality Garment Company, a factory that made fashion clothes for Western brands not the expensive labels that Phoebe had heard of but lesser ones that sold shiny, colourful clothes, though the other girls told her that these were trendy shops even though they were lowcost.
Apparently in the West even rich people buy cheap clothes. Personally Phoebe did not want any of the skirts or jackets or blouses that were made at the factory; they looked unclassy even to her.
Her job was to match up the orders to the delivery notes and make sure that everything tallied. It was not a difcult job, but still she cried every night. The hours were long and at night she had to endure being in a dorm with the other girls, so many other girls. She hated seeing their underwear strung up on washing lines in every room, even in the corridors, drying in the damp air.
Everywhere you went in the dormitory block all you saw was lines of damp underwear, and the whole place smelled of detergent and sweat. All day and night there was arguing and crying. She hated this, especially the night-time sobbing. It was as if everyone thought that when it was dark no one could hear them cry.
She had to get away from them, she was not like them. But for now she had no choice. The other hard thing to deal with was the jealousy, the things that were said about her. How did she get such a good job straight away?
Why was she in admin and not on the production line when she had only just joined the company? I hear she hasnt even been out for long. Well, Phoebe wanted to explain, rst of all it was because she could speak English and Cantonese, the language of all the rich factory-owners down here in the south.
And, quite simply, it was because she was better than the rest of them. But she knew to keep silent. She was afraid of the large groups of girls who came from the big provinces, especially the Hunanese girls who smuggled things out of the factory to sell outside and threatened to kill anyone who reported them. They liked to ght. Everyone had their own clan for protection: Only Phoebe was alone, but she would rise above them all because she was smarter.
A line stuck in her head, advice given to her by the self-made millionaire.
Hide your brightness, remain in the shadows. So she had to endure the jealousy and the detergent and the sweat and the crying. But for how long? Do not let lesser people drag you down. You are a star that shines brightly. She had a picture of a Taiwanese pop star by her bed. It was just a page torn from a magazine, an advertisement for cows milk, but it was a nicer decoration than the strung-up panties that the other girls had.
It was a struggle to keep the Sellotape attached to the glossy painted wall because of the humidity, and the top corner kept falling away. But she persisted in sticking the picture up so she could look at him and dream about a world where there was no sobbing. If she turned her body at an angle there was only him and her in the world. She liked his delicate smile and watery eyes, and found even the silly white milk-moustache on his lip endearing.
When she looked at his face she felt hope swell in her chest. His gentleness made her forget about the harshness of life and made Maybe she could even be his girlfriend one day. Oh, she knew that it was just a fantasy, but he was so dreamy, and reminded her of the boys she had grown up with, whom she would remember forever as teenagers, even though they had now all moved to the cities and were selling fake leather wallets and probably amphetamines on the side.
They had been so happy before, and now they were all growing old so quickly, including Phoebe. But you are so young, little sister.
That was what the new manager of her division began saying to her one day. He was a man from Hong Kong, not fat not thin, not ugly not handsome, just a man from Hong Kong. Once a month he would visit the factory and spend four or ve days there.
Every time he came he would call her into his ofce and show her the gifts he had brought for her a bag of the juiciest tangerines, small sugary pineapples from Taiwan, strawberries, some foreign chocolate that tasted bitter and oury delicacies that people bought when they could afford to travel. The hamper of fruit lay on his desk wrapped in stiff crinkly plastic that made a loud noise when she touched it.
She did not know how she was going to carry it all the way back to her dorm, across the huge courtyard and the basketball courts, did not know where she would keep it or how she would explain it to the other girls. The jealousy against her had not really gone away; the tide had just subsided for the time being, but was waiting to well up like a tsunami at any moment.
She knew that the gift was wrong, that she had not really done anything to deserve it, but as she looked at the shiny ripe persimmons, she felt special. Someone had noticed her, someone had thought of her enough to buy her nice things. It had been a long time since anyone had done that, so she accepted the gift.
As she carried the basket down the corridor to her dorm, she could feel the other girls hot stares burning her with their envy. She was sweating, and her heart was heavy with guilt, heavier than the basket she was carrying. But as she walked into the dorm she found herself talking freely, the words owing easily from her Ei, everyone, look what I have!
A cousin of mine in Hong Kong got married to a very rich man and they had their wedding. I couldnt afford to go so they sent me some tokens of their big celebration. Come, come, lets all share! Hei, you did not tell us you are from Hong Kong. Yes, Phoebe said. From just near the border, in the New Territories.
Oooh, the girls said as they reached for the fruit. So I guess its natural that you speak Cantonese! We thought you just learnt it to curry favour with the boss! This is how things happen in China, Phoebe thought as she sat watching her new friends sharing the basket of fruit. Things change so fast. From then on all the girls knew who she was, and they were nice to her.
They took her clothes and washed them for her when she was on a long shift, and some of them began to talk to her about their private lives where they were from, their boyfriend problems, their ambitions. One day she was talking to a girl, just someone she shared meal breaks with in the canteen sometimes, not really a friend. The girls mobile phone rang, and she just looked at the screen without answering.
Her face twisted into a pained expression and she handed the phone to Phoebe. Its the boy I was telling you about, the one who bullies me. Phoebe took the phone and did not even say hello.
This is your exgirlfriends cousin, she said. This mobile phone belongs to me now.