AMPOON STREET by Lin Tai Yi

AMPOON STREET

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KIRKUS REVIEW

The author is Chinese and successful; the scene is Hong Kong--epitome of opulence and misery in shallow brotherhood; the personae are Chinese--a tenement family with natural desires for civilization and none of the wherewithal to achieve it. The story, however, is geographically unrestricted and unremarkable: paternal provider dead of pneumonia; young son Lam intent upon finishing the education requisite for success; sister Riri working in a beauty parlor; and mother Eling peddling homemade Hakka wine to expectant mothers. It is honest and proper poverty until contact with the affluent wrecks the best of morals. Riri becomes the loving mistress of a millionaire's son. An apartment and a budget for the family are luxuries while they last--until Riri is pregnant and the class connections severed. Back in the tenement Ririe succumbs to wealth as a bigtime nightclub stripper, and the equation is solved: more money, less virtue. There may be nothing wrong with Suzie Wong, but a nice girl destroyed is appealing tragedy in any world. A simple, warm, and honest way of telling an old and persistent tale with a different slant: unassuming Cantonese style.

Publisher: World