Read The World of Suzie Wong by Richard Mason Online


The timeless story of the love affair between a British artist and a Chinese prostitute.Robert is the only resident of the Nam Kok hotel not renting his room by the hour when he meets Suzie at the bar. She becomes his muse and they fall in love. But even in Hong Kong, where many white expatriates have Chinese mistresses, their romance could jeopardize the things they eachThe timeless story of the love affair between a British artist and a Chinese prostitute.Robert is the only resident of the Nam Kok hotel not renting his room by the hour when he meets Suzie at the bar. She becomes his muse and they fall in love. But even in Hong Kong, where many white expatriates have Chinese mistresses, their romance could jeopardize the things they each hold dear. Set in the mid-1950s, The World of Suzie Wong is a beautifully written time capsule of a novel. First published more than fifty years ago, it resonated with readers worldwide, inspiring a film starring William H olden, a ballet, and even a reggae song. Now readers can experience the romance of this groundbreaking story anew....

Title : The World of Suzie Wong
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 701773
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 288 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The World of Suzie Wong Reviews

  • Michael
    2019-02-26 16:11

    i had never previously read about anyone that told my story so closely. the conflicts that robert lomax experienced about suzie wong working in a bar will be viewed very differently depending on whether the reader is male or female, young or old. richard mason couldn't pull that story from his imagination , he had to live it. i tried to read mason's other books and couldn't. i read that mason said he stopped writing because he had nothing else to say. thankfully he wrote suzie wong before he stopped writing. i've been with my "suzie wong' ten years now. thank you richard mason.

  • Joan
    2019-03-25 16:56

    What delight this book is. I love HK. I wish the HK of today was like that of the one I first visited in 1988, let alone how wonderful it muust have been as portrayed in the late 50s of this book.The world is not only Suzie's. It is that of HK. The "yum-yum" girls of the dance halls and the bars. The sailors who visit this huge port when their ships dock. And the ex-pat community. Not only is Suzie a finely drawn character, so are her friends and along with Robert and his connections with the ex-pat community this becomes a terrific portrait of HK in the '50s.Both Robert and Suzie see this world clearly but because they come at it from such different perspectives their reactions to that world and how they express them form the foundation of their relationship.

  • Shu Xiao
    2019-03-13 09:53

    Of all the fictions written by Western authors about "mysterious Asians" this one is probably my favorite now. Im completely fascinated by the story. I don't know how Richard Mason did it, but all of those details put you back in time, alongside Suzie Wong and her lover and sisters, in Hong Kong. There is just the right amount of sorrow AND happiness to make it work. Great love story too.

  • Tom Carter
    2019-03-16 12:57

    I read Richard Mason's Suzie Wong for the first time during my first trip to Hong Kong. I was less lucky in finding a hooker who wanted to be my girlfriend than the protagonist Robert Lomax, but the book nonetheless was a great trip down the seedy lanes of Hong Kong past. I even referred to it in a travel article I penned about today's Wan Chai girls:"DAY 6: I give the Island another chance and take the night ferry across the harbor to the north end’s older and seedier nightspot, the infamous Wan Chai. Recall it is where Richard Mason penned his 1950’s tale of forbidden love, “The World Of Suzie Wong,” though a lot has changed since he wrote “take a minute’s stroll from the center and you won’t see a European.” The pick-up bars still line the road, yum-yum girls luring passersby into their neon-lit dens, but these are the illegitimate daughters of Suzie Wong, not of Chinese but Thai dissent, wearing not elegant silk cheongsams but cheap miniskirts raised to immodest heights. And unlike the kindly ladies of the Nam Kok Hotel, these modern-day working girls are vicious, mercenary, cold. When a group of obviously disappointed white boys emerge from one venue exclaiming, “In Thailand they take off ALL their clothes,” the brown-skinned door girl in plastic go-go boots is quick to shout back, “Then go to Thailand!” Further down Lockhart I follow a couple of older Europeans primed with drink and flirting heavily with a lovely bouquet of girls looking for generous company. After making their arrangements, one of the men leans on me and confides, “Wy mife, I mean my wife, thinks I’m *HICCUP* at a conference.” The remaining girls give this poor writer a cursory glance then quickly cross the street away from me. "

  • Susan
    2019-02-27 13:17

    I read this book 15 years ago and remembered enjoying it, but recently I re-watched the movie, so picked the book up again. It's amazing how much of the story the film cut out of the book. I thought Richard Mason did a great job of portraying a certain part of Hong Kong during the late 50s and the different people who inhabited--or simply visited--Wanchai. The end was downright thrilling and even sinister when they were in seedy Macau. It's too bad the film cut out that part. If you're going to watch the film and read the novel, I'd suggest watching the film first, then reading the book, which is usually something I don't do!

  • Laura Besley
    2019-03-17 17:09

    Living in Hong Kong, i've wanted to read this for a long time. Finally got round to it. Was great to read about this city in the 1950s and the story was also very compelling.

  • Erika
    2019-02-26 14:04

    Pretty much just as racist & misogynist as you'd expect it to be. Like a fucking biography of every dirty old cheek-toucher in Lan Kwai Fong.

  • Zoe Carney
    2019-02-28 15:53

    This book came up on a recommended list when I was searching for novels set in Hong Kong, and I'm glad I decided to read it. It bears no resemblance to modern day Hong Kong, of course - it's set in the 1950s, with all the attendant romance of a colony so very sure of itself, and told from the point of view of a man in love with the city and its people and disillusioned with the West. But as a story, a love story, it holds up surprisingly well, with lots of sharp little details like the prostitutes having to go to an STD clinic, and the clever observations of race and social class, that stop it becoming too mawkish.The Suzie of the title is beautifully complex, the supporting characters interesting and varied, if only lightly sketched, and the story itself is compelling enough to draw you in and keep you there. Despite the premise of a Westerner living among Chinese people, there's surprisingly little fetishisation - the author manages to make observations about the people without othering them, except when he's making a point.All in all, an enjoyable read, one steeped in nostalgia and hazy with romance, but enjoyable nonetheless.

  • Marlan Warren
    2019-03-24 18:07

    I picked up an ancient copy of this book from a free bin without much hope that I would like it. But I could not have been more wrong in my assumptions. Instead of the prurient, racist plotline that I expected, I found this to be an extremely well written and thoughtful book. Richard Mason was unafraid to address head-on issues that would have been taboo to discuss at the time it was written, and he defines the character of Suzie Wong with honesty and compassion for who she is. She is not the "submissive Asian girl" of non-Asian fantasies, but simply herself in all her feisty glory with her own way of dealing with the grief and grit of her prostitute's life in post-War Hong Kong. There is an actual storyline, told simply and with an eye for detail that reads like a documentary film. I wondered if it grew out of Mason's own journals. So realistic and three-dimensional are the characters and situations. There is no "Yellow Fever" here, that I could detect. But a story that grew out of the authors' love for Hong Kong and its people.

  • George
    2019-03-02 13:57

    MY FAVORITE FAIRY TALE.“Reminiscent of Somerset Maugham at his storytelling best… Suzie Wong is enchanting.” [New York Herald Tribune]—page 2The first time I read ‘The World of Suzie Wong’ telephones all had rotary dials and stayed mostly in one place, car windows had handles with knobs to roll them up and down, the latest electronic marvel was the transistor radio, and Hong Kong still had almost forty years remaining as a dirty, though romantic, British Crown Colony. A half-century later and Richard Mason’s classic is still a magical read.Recommendation: If you like Maugham’s enchanting storytelling and incredibly well developed, though exceedingly flawed, characters—you’ll love Richard Mason’s ‘The World of Suzie Wong’.A Barnes and Noble NOOKbook, 310 pages

  • Susan
    2019-03-07 18:23

    Written in the 1950s, this book has been dusted off by those interested in Hong Kong and China. Rather than reflecting the ugliest of 50s stereotypes, the book is more nuanced about Hong Kong and the Cantonese. Despite being progressive for its time, there are moments in which ugliness peaks through and I found this very interesting. As Mason tries to be open and accepting of the Cantonese, he still has deep assumptions about gender and race. But this is a page-turner with interesting characters and I was glad to be put back in that time to consider how much we have changed and retained our prejudices about the "Orient" and Asian women (the book can hardly bring itself to consider Asian men).

  • Alexandra
    2019-03-02 17:15

    Not sure how well this has aged.... On the one hand, some of the painful expat stereotypes are alive and well, as are the somewhat strained relations between westerners in Hong Kong and the local Chinese population. Certain inequalities are alive now- Wanchai is still the red light district and a seedy dive, it is lacking in some of the nostalgic, colonial vibes that colour this novel.Certain melodramatic elements don't ring true and leave the reader feeling cold. Saying any more on the subject would be to reveal to much- just trust me on this point.That being said, there are times that Mason captures desire and relationships remarkably well. The initial meeting Suzie and the 'hero' is memorable and Suzie rises above her role as exploited Wanchai girl.

  • Chris Wharton
    2019-03-25 13:20

    A totally unexpected surprise. Recalling an old movie of the same name (which I've never seen), I picked it up from the library where a new paperback “cult classic” edition was on the “Did you miss these?” shelf. I was amazed to read a 1957 novel that captivated me from start to finish with the Hong Kong romance of expatriate artist Robert and local prostitute Suzie, an “exotic” setting and eccentric cast of characters, and a forthright, ahead-of-its-times portrayal of both a sexual underground and colonialism’s insidious, exploitative effects under the civilized British veneer. A fun, insightful, resonant read.

  • Markus Innocenti
    2019-03-27 16:09

    Very evocative and thoughtfully written novel that could have trodden a well-worn path into cheap exploitation but didn't. I was aware of this book as a child, mostly because of Tsai Chin's hit song from the Lionel Bart musical. I haven't seen the William Holden/Nancy Kwan movie, but I don't see how it could translate to the screen. It's a skilful example of British writing from the very end of the colonial period - which is why it's compared to Somerset Maugham, I suppose - and it's a classic of its type, so well worth a read.

  • Sam
    2019-03-05 14:16

    In spite of the setting, this is a well-written love story that crosses cultures and social strata. Suzie often keeps her thoughts hidden, which enhances the drama in certain portions because we never really know what she is thinking or how she will act. Far from being a callous, shallow individual, she is in fact a very complex and endearing woman. I was sad when I reached the end of the book because I wish the story could have continued. Will definitely re-read this one in a few years' time.

  • Jane Tara
    2019-03-11 17:00

    Another book I adored as a teen, and I'm so thrilled to see it has been rereleased. I'll be reading this again soon. I first read this when I was about thirteen, and then at least another four times while I was still at school. I can remember the impact the setting had on me--Asia! The Far East... I was utterly obsessed by it. (I have since lived in various parts of Asia for many years, and my sons are Eurasian.)I look forward to reading this again and seeing if it still holds a 5 star rating. I hope so. For now, it remains such a special book to me.

  • Stephanie
    2019-03-07 16:14

    Even for its time this book is mind numbingly horrid. Humbert Humbert is a more sympathetic character than the self absorbed, hateful, arrogant, racist, arrested-development fuckwit character who narrates this story. Just read the scenes with Suzie's baby. Pretty much a huge waste of time and paper, and will make you feel slightly ill afterwards into the bargain.

  • Bora
    2019-03-22 12:20

    Such a simple story, and really simple dialogue too but Suzie Wong feels so real and their love felt so reasl. After I finished the book I had a hard time believing she didn't actually exist. Some people may find parts of the book rather culturally insensitive but let's remember folks that the book was written in the 50s.

  • Fiona Scott-clarke
    2019-03-25 11:08

    Found this on my father's bookshelf and thought I'd give it a try. Thoroughly enjoyed it, such lovely storytelling. I felt as though I was right there although I only know the new Hong Kong. Even though it was set in a different time, it still reminded me of my favorite places around the island. Wouldn't recommend the movie though.

  • Celia Thrash
    2019-02-26 17:02

    What a great book - it's a don't miss. A true picture of Hing Kong. Beautiful love story with strong characters.

  • Paul Cornelius
    2019-03-21 15:20

    A blurb on the back cover of my copy of The World Suzie Wong compared it to the work of W. Somerset Maugham. This is a dreadful mistake. About the only similarity between Suzie Wong and the works of Maugham is that Suzie's protagonist, Robert Lomax, starts out on a Malayan rubber plantation. From that plantation he moves to Hong Kong to pursue an interest in painting. And, here, Mason creates a work of fiction that is of Hong Kong, not just set in Hong Kong. That is the difference. Maugham's work, often focused on British colonial administrators in the Far East, used his exotic settings as mere backdrops. They never intertwined into the nature of his characters. Suzie Wong does. It focuses on the world of non-expats, the world of bar girls, "coolies," shop owners, rickshaw drivers, and hotel clerks. As such, it separates itself from Maugham's universe in a fashion much more similar to Conrad's work on pieces such as Almayer's Folly or Lord Jim. Finally, I have come to this novel late. It has been many, many, many years since I first saw the film version, with Nancy Kwan and William Holden. And the images from the film still are fresh in my mind. But so good is Mason's writing in Suzie Wong, that I soon had those images driven from my mind by the very real world of 1950s Hong Kong he creates in the novel's pages. As such, the novel maintains its own vitality and, in the end, somewhat desperate desire to see how Suzie and Robert's lives played out after the final page.

  • Jan Colle
    2019-03-21 11:57

    Read this book because I now live in Hong Kong and wanted to get the feel of what it 50/60 years ago. I did learn a thing or too but honestly, it's not so well written and quite reproduces the stereotype racism that it intends to expose.

  • Sergio
    2019-03-21 12:57

    Un libro che insegna che l'amore è un sentimento che può nascere in noi nella maniera più inaspettata e per una persona anche molto diversa da noi: un romanzo positivo che racconta l'amore con spensieratezza e con il sorriso

  • Gloria
    2019-03-25 16:16

    Though it had no real plot and was kind of all over the place, i loved how this book really took you into the sights and sounds of a Hong Kong that probably doesn't exist now. Was equal parts insightful but also wondered how the narrator seemed to float in and out of scenes.

  • Steven-John Tait
    2019-03-04 13:12

    I enjoyed this book. The author wrote a good story with some nice philosophical points in the text. The characters are likeable and believable.

  • Parveen Harnam
    2019-02-28 15:18

    I came across this book in the bookstore and thought it would be a new read, a different reading experience. It is that in a lot of ways, it has a unique appeal, probably because the book was written so many years ago. In the first 100 or so pages, one would not have known that this was a book that was written before Malaya became Malaysia, in the 1950s. Apart from one or two instances, it felt so modern in those first few pages. I loved that he started with his experience in Malaya, as I almost never get to see Malaysia being represented in the books that I read, and although he wrote about "Malaya" and not Malaysia as it is now, I was instantly connected to the novel. There was a beauty to the ability of the writer to bring me into Hong Kong, in the 1950s, the streets, neon lights and midnight feasts were so vividly expressed, I could almost taste the Pekin food, and the melon seeds. For the most part, I lived vicariously through the protagonist. I visited places with him, I would normally never know and never have known. This book has taught me some realities of life. Having said all that, there were some elements that I did not very much favour. I admire the realistically slow pace of Suzie and Richard's love story, but I felt there were just too many ups and downs in the plot for me to enjoy the novel to the fullest extent. It was like an emotional roller coaster a lot of times, and got a little childish. I understand that Suzie's personality is such, but some of the issues they faced felt so mundane and a lot of them completely unnecessary. One of the issues is the American character, who moves into Nam Kok and completely ruins the uniqueness of Robert's presence there. This new character was just an underdeveloped silly addition. Robert's character is I assume supposed to be this far-sighted and open minded man, but he is not. He loves Suzie for whatever she is but hates her with sailors when with him. He never could love her "Eurasian" son. This character seems to contradict himself on this. He constantly feels that her son looks pathetic but dislikes the elitist behaviour of his fellow British acquaintances towards "half-castes". It feels very insincere. He seems to me to be a fake. He does not have any real principles, everything about him is contradictory. There is little personality in this character when one continues reading the novel.Towards the end of the book, it became very obvious to me that this book is an old one, through the constant changes, heavy drama, and twists. Maybe this novel has reached its time and has become obsolete.

  • April Cabello-Arshad
    2019-03-16 16:10

    The World of Suzie Wong successfully transported me to Hong Kong of the mid-1950s. It is both a great and easy read, if you are open to a melodramatic love story, with bits of emotional roller coaster ride.I found this novel at Dymocks in Melbourne when I was visiting family last December. I didn’t have a lot of expectations and the only reason why I bought it (aside from it being on sale) was that the backdrop of the story is Hong Kong, one of my favorite cities in Asia.As it turned out, The World of Suzie Wong was a beautiful surprise. Extremely well-written and thoughtful, it takes the reader to the streets of seedy Wan Chai, the sights and sounds of Nathan Road in the mid-century setting of Hong Kong.Robert Lomax, an aspiring British artist who relocated from Malaysia to Hong Kong, is the only long-term resident of Nam Kok Hotel, which is more of a brothel paid by the hour. Robert meets Suzie, a Chinese prostitute, who frequents the hotel bar and regularly rents the hotel with her sailor customers. Suzie becomes Robert’s muse, despite their relationship being platonic. Over a long and tedious process, with Suzie’s several “boyfriends” gracing the pages and adding more color to the story line, they eventually fall in love.Their romance is mired by a lot of complications, which provided a lot of texture to the story, making it more evocative.Mason’s character exposition made Suzie very endearing with her simplistic yet practical view of things. Suzie actually felt so real. The author also made a painstaking effort to provide richness in the other characters surrounding Suzie and Robert, including the other prostitutes that Robert has come to know during his stay at the Nam Kok.Overall, it is beautifully written, with powerful imagery of a dated Hong Kong. Mason’s descriptive writing style made the book a page-turner and a beautiful journey that the reader will enjoy with Suzie and Robert.This book is one of my surprise favorites and I definitely recommend it!

  • Mars
    2019-02-26 15:09

    I enjoyed reading this book a lot. I think it is a really nice love story and Richard Mason's beautiful style of writing makes it one of those books that feels very smooth and flowing to read, so I found I could easily get into the story. Suzie is such a lovable and interesting character. Furthermore, in the beginning of the book in the little about-the-author paragraph, it says that "the intersection of East and West" in postwar Hong Kong is what inspired Mason to write this book. Indeed, crossing of cultures is a theme that Mason delves into in this book in a way that I found to be effective and interesting. He does a good job of presenting the reader with varying perspectives, while still through the filter of the narrator, Robert Lomax.Overall, I like this book a lot and I especially like the message it conveys of being comfortable with and proud of oneself. Suzie's relationship with Robert and journey towards self-acceptance conveys this positive message about beauty and confidence.

  • Mehmet
    2019-03-24 15:14

    I brought this book in Hong Kong, and yes before you ask i had a great holiday and also a great read. This was a extremely emotional rollercoster ride of a love story. You truly feel for every single character and i mean that in a postive and negative way. This book has people so real that you almost believe you can touch them. You want to curse them if they do wrong, you want to confort them when sad. I cried at the end.... i will not say why. Hong Kong is vividly brought to life and yes Chinese people are realistically portrayed. This novel shows why sometimes writing is an art form in the right hands. It is a magical experience of love in its true colours. All the book ask for is too except it for what it is ;-)Forget Pretty Woman read this book. I highly recommend it.

  • Crystal Redington
    2019-03-21 15:07

    The world of suzie wong, is a novel where a british artist falls for his model Suzie Wong a chinese prostitute. For her beauty captivates him the moment hes first lays eyes on her but, she a woman that is very hard to get. No matter how hard Suzie tries to push him away, Robert Lomax is persistant in winning her. Though I have seen the movie version with William Holden so many times, I never thought there was more to the story than I expected. Do give Richard Mason's fabulious novel reading time, you don't know what you are missing if you don't read it.