MR. ON LOONG by Robert Standish
Kirkus Star


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The author of The Three Bamboos with perhaps his best book since that memorable novel again displays his versatility and unique gifts. His main character is John On Long, only Chinese on a British Island in the West Indies. At the death of his father, a laundryman, he is brought to the governor's attention and sent to school, but runs away and joins Lorillard, a wise Frenchman, on his trading boat. A brief period in Trinidad- ultimately partnership with Lorillard, only to have Lorillard die in attempting to prevent John's marriage to his daughter, Laurette, a marriage he had at first approved. Laurette bears John's child in England; becomes a well-kept mistress of successive Europeans. John ultimately secures his son, and makes his way slowly in the community where he had been born, wine the respect of the island in handling of the color question, labor problems, social contacts. He and his boy go to China, to take his parents' bodies home; they see the awful poverty which serves as impetus to aiding Chinese who, during the war pass through his island. Then Pierre, a flier, is killed- and, bitterness burned out, John turns again to Laurette.... Deceptively simple in the telling, Standish uses natural progression, emotion, sentiment, and characters, that in a fresh setting reflect a refreshing understanding of the passing scene.

Pub Date: March 25th, 1947
Publisher: Macmillan