By Michelle Jana Chan£5.99
Status: published
Publication Date: 28.06.2018Available
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About The Book

Song is just a boy when he sets out from Lishui village in China. Brimming with courage and ambition, he leaves behind his impoverished broken family, hoping he’ll make his fortune and return home. Chasing tales of sugarcane, rubber and gold, Song embarks upon a perilous voyage across the oceans to the British colony of Guiana, but once there he discovers riches are not so easy to come by and he is forced into labouring as an indentured plantation worker.

This is only the beginning of Song’s remarkable life, but as he finds himself between places and between peoples, and increasingly aware that the circumstances of birth carry more weight than accomplishments or good deeds, Song fears he may live as an outsider forever.

This beautifully written and evocative story spans nearly half a century and half the globe, and though it is set in another century, Song’s story of emigration and the quest for an opportunity to improve his life is timeless.

'This novel is steeped in empathy at the unfairness of poverty and hardship, and the injustice of a culture based on the old plutocracy, while also exploring the many acts of individual kindness that can change a person’s fortune. Ultimately, Jana Chan shows us how suffering and disadvantage can drive, rather than crush the human spirit' Bernardine Evaristo, Booker Prize-winning author of Girl, Woman, Other

'Precise, heartfelt, breathtaking . . . Song will touch you with its remarkable odyssey and make you believe in dreams again' Elif Shafak, author of 10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World

'A strong picaresque element powers this saga' Daily Mail

'Michelle Jana Chan brings a world of equal peril and possibility to life with her rich, radiant prose' Tatler

'A beautifully told tale with fascinating historical insight' Vanity Fair

'One of the Caribbean’s little-known stories' Times Literary Supplement

'Song offers a rare and compelling fictional exploration of the pioneering Chinese presence in British Guyana, in the eighteenth century. A powerful testimony to frontier life in Guyana's gold-mining interior' Jacob Ross, author of The Bone Readers

'A dazzling novel, brimming with psychological acuity. Chan conjures the sweet smells of Guiana, the shadow of an oil lamp and a filigree of leaves leaning over a river in swirling mist. An unforgettable portrait of a man and a little-known land' Sara Wheeler


A wonderfully lush and atmospheric odyssey of survival against all odds
Bernardine Evaristo, Booker Prize-winning author of Girl, Woman, Other

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