Editorial Reviews. vitecek.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.
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.
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Please try again later. 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. Your ex has a new boyfriend and he is rich and educated, not a stupid peasant like you, so just go away or else I will make trouble for you.
I know who you are and which lousy place you work at. Wah, you are amazing, Phoebe! Everyone was laughing and someone even reached out and put her arm around Phoebes shoulder. On her rst day off that month she went with some other girls to the cinema.
They stopped at a fast-food place and had bubble milk tea before buying a box of octopus balls which they ate while strolling through the night market, linking elbows as if they were still in middle school.
They turned their noses up at the cheap The music on the speakers was loud, thumping in their ribcages and drowning out their heartbeats. It made them feel so alive. The smell of fried food and charcoal grills felt familiar to Phoebe she did not feel so very far from home after all.
They saw posters advertising the latest concert of the Taiwanese singer she liked, and the ticket prices did not look too expensive. Hei, we should all save up some money and go! Phoebe, you love Gary, dont you? Maybe we can share the cost of your ticket, because you are always cooking for us and sharing your food with us. I hear hes going to sing some Cantonese songs too, since its here in Guangzhou, so you can teach us to sing along!
She was happy that they offered, but she knew that these were empty promises and that no one would actually buy her a ticket. She stopped to buy a shiny black top decorated with beads, but the other girls scolded her. Forty kuai! Too expensive. Aiya, new girls are always the same, always spending money on useless things instead of sending it home.
Besides, you should be buying nicer clothes, something that suits your slim gure better, not some Old Mother style!
But Phoebe bought it anyway, she didnt care. It had pretty embroidery, a red rose adorned with silver beads that fanned out from each petal. But as swiftly as the bright cool days of autumn give way to the damp chill of winter, life also changes. Phoebe knew this by now. Nothing ever stood still in China, nothing was permanent. A person who is loved cannot expect that love to remain for long. There is no reason for them to keep this love; they do not have a right to be loved.
She shared her third basket of fruit and other delicacies with her dorm friends. This time there were bags of dried scallops and a tin of abalone, which none of them had ever tasted before, and they gathered to cook a meal together. It was too luxurious for lowly people like them, one girl remarked this meal was all thanks to Phoebe. Really, said another girl, lifting her rice bowl to her mouth.
Boss Lin says this kind of thing is not so special in Hong Kong, everyone eats it over there. How would you know? When do you ever talk to Boss Lin? Hm, its true. I rarely get a chance to speak to him.
The only person he speaks to is Phoebe. I wish he didnt, Phoebe joked. He is so boring. Hai, its only because of my stupid job that I have to have contact with him.
It seems he takes a special interest in you. He even calls you into his private ofce. Yes, but only to scold me for tasks I havent done!
Come, eat some more!
The next month, Mr Lin summoned Phoebe to see him as soon as he arrived. He shut the door; the blinds were already down as usual. There was no fruit basket this time, only a small box. He opened it and held out a brand-new mobile phone, the type with no buttons on the screen, just a smooth glass surface. It was something a tycoons daughter would have, or a businesswoman. Phoebe didnt even know how to turn it on.
But I already have a phone. Its OK, take it. Just tell your friends you won it in a competition. She held it in her hands, turning it over and over again. She held it up to her face. It was like a mirror she could see herself in it.
You like it? Mr Lin was standing next to her, though she had not heard him approach her. He put his hand on her buttock, the palm at, burning through her jeans. Hours later, she would still feel the imprint of his hot hand on her, leaving its mark where it had stayed for less than half a minute, maybe not even that long. In the dorm someone said, Whats happened to your cousin in Hong Kong? No food hamper this month?
I think the cousin must have suddenly died and turned into a ghost! Next day, two Shaanxi girls from the next block were taken away by the police. When Phoebe asked why, one of her dorm They were illegal, and one of them was underage. But I thought you said that kind of thing doesnt really matter, that the employer doesnt ask too many questions, where youre from and all that, Phoebe said.
Sure, thats right, her dorm mate replied, smiling. But rules are rules. You can dodge the regulations for so long, but if someone makes a formal report theres nothing anyone can do.
Half the girls here are lying about something, and most of the time its OK. Even if you dont have a proper hukou or your papers are fake, who cares? Only when you step out of line do others make trouble for you. Those girls were unpopular, they were arrogant and made enemies.
They thought they were better than everyone else, so what could they expect? It was just a matter of time. One morning Phoebe came back after a night shift and saw that the poster by her bed had been defaced. The pop singers moon-bright complexion had been dotted with acne and now he wore round black glasses and there were thick cat whiskers sprouting from his cheeks.
Time was running out for Phoebe. From the rst moment she set foot in China she had felt the days vanishing from her life, vanishing into failure. Like the clock she stared at every day at work, her life was counting down the minutes before she became a non-person whom no one would ever remember. As she sat during lunch break on the low brick wall next to the volleyball court, she knew that she had to act now or she would forever be stepped on everywhere she went.
The grey concrete dormitory blocks rose up on all four sides of the yard and blocked out the light. There was Cantonese pop music playing from somewhere and through an open window she could see a TV playing reruns of the Olympics, Chinese athletes winning medals.
She watched the high jump for a while. A lanky blonde girl failed twice, opping down heavily on the bar. One more go and she was out. It didnt really matter, since she wasnt even going to win a medal. Then suddenly she did something that made Phoebe shiver with For her third and nal jump she asked for the bar to be raised higher than anyone had jumped so far, higher than she had ever attained in her whole life. She had failed at lower heights but now she was gunning for something way beyond her capabilities.
She was going to jump all the way to the stars, and even if she failed she could only come down as far as the lowly position she already occupied.
She stood at the end of the runway exing her ngers and shaking her wrists, and then she started running, in big bouncy strides. Phoebe got up and turned away. She didnt want to see what happened, it was not important to her.
The only thing that mattered was that the blonde girl had gambled. She took her expensive new phone to a Sichuan girl who traded things in the dorm, and sold it for a nice sum of cash. She washed her hair and tied it neatly before going to Boss Lins ofce. She was wearing her tightest jeans that she usually reserved for her day off. They were so tight that she could not sit down comfortably without them cutting into the tops of her thighs. Little Miss, its highly irregular for us to hand out salaries before payday, he said, but he was already looking for the number of the accounts department.
Come on, its almost the end of the month, only a week to go. Phoebe twirled her hair and inclined her head the way she noticed other girls doing when they talked to the handsome security guards. Anyway, she laughed, our relationship is a bit irregular, dont you think? Foshan, Songxia, Dongguan, Wenzhou she was going to bypass them all.
Her bar was going to be raised all the way to the sky. There was only one city she could go to now, the biggest and brightest of them all. The girl at the next table was still reading her magazine, her boyfriend sending messages on his iPhone. Sometimes he would read out a message and laugh, but the girl would not respond, she He looked up at Phoebe, just for a split second, and at rst she thought he was scowling in that familiar look-down-on-you expression. But then she realised that he was squinting because of the light.
He hadnt even noticed her. The girls mobile phone rang and she began to rummage in her handbag for it, emptying out its contents on the table.
There were so many shiny pretty things, lipstick cases, keyrings, and also a leather diary, a pen, stray receipts, and scrunched-up pieces of tissue paper.
She answered the phone, and as she did so, stood up and gathered her things, hastily replacing them in her bag. Her boyfriend was trying to help her, but she was frowning with impatience. A 5-mao coin fell to the oor and rolled to Phoebes feet. She bent over and picked it up. Dont worry, the boy said over his shoulder as he followed his girlfriend out. Its only 5 mao.
They had just left when Phoebe noticed something on the table.