by Su Tong
Category: Fiction / S - U
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Ltd
Publication date: 3 January 2000
Number of pages: 266
When Five Dragons chances his fortune in the city, his brutal humiliation at the hands of a gang of wharf rats hones his purpose. His desire for power and women is insatiable, and when he marries Cloud Weave, the daughter of a rice emporium owner and inherits the business, fulfilment beckons.
Five Dragons leaves his province for the big city during the 1930s, brutalized by starvation and ill treatment. He is taken in by a rice merchant and his two daughters - who offer him employment and, eventually, marriage. But Five Dragons' hardships in his formative years have left him incapable of loving anything but the plump white grains of rice in his warehouse, and his acceptance into this already dysfunctional family can only presage tragedy. This is a harrowing story by the author of the acclaimed Raise the Red Lantern, and readers should be warned that it is in many ways a violent and cruel novel, but it is imbued with a harsh beauty that is difficult to ignore or forget. (Kirkus UK)
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