UNUSED, LIKE NEW, NOT EX-LIBRARY, 286 pages. POWERFUL, beautiful, and not yet deaf to a catchy melody, Victoria Init-the consort of a middling Philippine politician-should be entering the prime of life as sleek and satiated as the household cat. But she is distracted by an ambition to put her dusty provincial fiefdom on the wider cultural map, an aspiration which enmeshes her in events as horrific as they are hilarious, intertwining gun law and political correctness with a wide cast of international characters. Set in Macau, the Philippines, Japan, and New York for as long as it takes to drink a cup and a half of indifferent coffee, Timothy Mo's new novel can be read as a revenger's tragedy, a comedy of polyglot manners, or simply as the newest instalment in his candid commentary on the waxing and waning of the struggle between the ways of East and West.
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