Five Star Billionaire

Tash Aw

Welcome to Shanghai. A restless metropolis where old traditions collide with new ambitions – a place where anything can happen and anyone can become Somebody. Golddigger, property magnate, pop star, entrepreneur and guru: five newcomers are lured by the promise of making fortunes and remaking identities. But they find their lives converging in unpredictable ways, as the Five Star Billionaire’s lessons for success wreak havoc. For in a land where dreams may come true, nothing is ever quite as it seems…

Reviews of Five Star Billionaire

  • ‘Aw’s tale of five migrant workers carving out lives in a modernising Shanghai is the stuff of a hit TV miniseries … the reading experience it offers is coolly engrossing’ Adam Mars-Jones, Observer

    ‘A brilliant, sprawling, layered and unsentimental portrayal of contemporary China’ Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

    ‘A fascinating cast of characters … a panoramic, expertly detailed painting of contemporary Shanghai’ Sunday Times

    ‘“Five Star Billionaire” opens with a bang, not a whimper … Aw is a master storyteller and “Five Star Billionaire” can be read as “The Way We Live Now” for our times’ Aminatta Forna, Guardian

    ‘[Aw] is unmatched at evoking the smells and sounds of the land and cityscapes, the figures of speech and shifting cultural mores of that finger-like peninsula that pokes into the South China Sea …Their tales are told chapter by chapter, the characters slowly drawing closer together like flotsam in a vortex, before the stunning finale …There is wit here, and plenty of acute observation and characterisation’ Independent on Sunday

    ‘A new kind of immigrant novel. One that takes place in our increasingly mutlipolar world and is …a challenge to the old narrative’ Sunday Telegraph

    ‘The five characters are distinct, and Aw manages to bring them together well … Aw brilliantly recreates the intonations and vocabulary of someone educated only in Chinese’ Independent

    ‘Highly topical, sharply observed but affecting portmanteau novel’ Independent, ‘Books of the Year’

    ‘A splendid achievement. The narrative … is brilliantly designed, a puzzle whose pieces click satisfyingly into place – Aw’s book could scarcely be bettered’ Independent on Sunday

    ‘Aw’s style – terse but tender, lightly ironic without being snide – is fresh, bracing and, above all, compassionate. His characters … form profound impressions on the reader. One simply cares deeply what happens to them, and this skilled writer never makes that an easy matter to predict’ Scotsman