Gold by the Inch by Lawrence Chua

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The narrator of Gold by the Inch, a young New Yorker of Asian descent, has returned to the country of his birth following a disastrous relationship and his father's death. Thailand is in the throes of rampant economic development, and everyone the narrator meets -- from noodle-shop owners to his own relatives to the jaded children of the rich -- seems to be drunk on the nation's financial miracle. Or high on something else. The latter is true of Thon, the very young, very beautiful male prostitute who works at a Bangkok nightclub and with whom the narrator becomes romantically obsessed. As he tries to convince himself that their affair transcends the limits of commercial love, the narrator is forced to look at the connections between desire and exploitation, personal and national identity.In succinct, luminous prose, Lawrence Chua combines vivid accounts of Southeast Asia's troubled history with evocations of its modern face: its polyglot culture, its crumbling colonial edifices, the Blade Runner futurism of its sex industry and skyscrapers. Gold by the Inch is an important addition to the growing body of literature that is defining the Asian diaspora.

About Lawrence Chua

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Chua's writing has appeared in Rolling Stone.
Published March 1, 1998 by Grove Pr. 209 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, Gay & Lesbian. Fiction

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A number of the story's particulars are indeed compelling: for example, the history of violent behavior that has threaded its way through the narrator's family, climaxing with his scapegrace father's dementia and death, and the mysterious unexplained demise of his grandmother, who may have been m...

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Publishers Weekly

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A clever challenge to Marguerite Duras's The Lover, this first novel by journalist Chua updates the time-honored themes of empire and eroticism. In a stream of precise prose in which even the mess h

Mar 02 1998 | Read Full Review of Gold by the Inch

Publishers Weekly

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Chua's prose is sensuous, often feverish, studded with vivid images: we're hearing, the narrator notes, ""the sound of time eating its own children."" Despite the sadness of his subject and the grimness of his historical imagination, the narrator's restless curiosity survives his romantic disillu...

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Entertainment Weekly

GOLD BY THE INCH Lawrence Chua (Grove, $20) Set primarily in the booming brothels of early-'90s Bangkok, journalist Chua's searing, lushly written first novel stylishly explores the shifting boundaries between sex and commerce, East and West, culture and identity.

Mar 20 1998 | Read Full Review of Gold by the Inch

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