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CHANGE OF FLAG- P [Paperback]

Christopher New


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Book Description

July 1 2003
This is the last in the dynastic trilogy of the Dentons in China, which began in 1903, as chronicled in the New York Times bestseller Shanghai. It is 1983. The second and third generations have settled in Hong Kong. Michael Denton, the family head, receives a message from his sister, a devout Communist. She has become disaffected with the political regime after the Cultural Revolution and wants his help to escape.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 242 pages
  • Publisher: Soho Press (July 1 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9627160954
  • ISBN-13: 978-9627160953
  • Product Dimensions: 20 x 14.2 x 2 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 431 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,205,642 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"The definitive Hong Kong novel." -- Far Eastern Economic Review

"They have considerably more literary merit than Noble House or Tai-pan, while being just as readable." -- Asia Week

About the Author

Christopher New spent nearly thirty years in China. He lives in Hong Kong and Cyprus.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.7 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best of Christopher New's China Coast trilogy Dec 18 2005
By Paul Wiseman - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
A Change of Flag is the last and best installment in Christopher New's excellent China Coast trilogy. The opener -- Shanghai -- is a Clavell-esque epic, covering a half century of war, revolution and intrigue in one of the world's most fascinating cities. The second installment -- The Chinese Box -- is a dark, uncompromising tale of a failing marriage set amid the chaos of the mid-60s Cultural Revolution demonstrations in Hong Kong. The finale brings together strands from the earlier books. Descendants of John Denton -- the business tycoon protagonist of Shanghai -- interact with the world-weary literature professor Dimitri Johnston and other characters from The Chinese Box.

A Change of Flag is set in 1983-1984 as British and Chinese negotiators decided the fate of Hong Kong (with little input from the colony's residents). It tells several interconnected stories -- of a disillusioned Chinese communist seeking to flee the mainland; of a business tycoon struggling to protect his family from political uncertainty; of a has-been triad member seeking to make one last score; and more.

Christopher New is better at charting the East-West divide than any writer I've encountered. His Chinese characters are usually remorselessly practical, refusing to sacrifice themselves or their families for abstract ideals. But it's the well-intentioned, do-gooding Westerners who often cause more misery. New's hard-headed vision sometimes makes for depressing reading (especially in The Chinese Box). But A Change of Flag seems a bit more optimistic about the human condition, describing the willingness of people rally around those they love (or are related to).

White women don't come off very well in New's stories. In contrast to his graceful, serene Chinese beauties, New's Western women tend to be unattractive, vain, rude, asexual or lesbian. They fare better in A Change of Flag than they did in the earlier books: The American character Rachel is rendered somewhat sympathetically -- though she is naive, self-righteous and essentially asexual. And New hints touchingly at the enormous capacity for love possessed by Dimitri's promiscuous daughter, Elena.

This book shares one weakness with Shanghai: Christopher New does not seem terribly interested in what drives successful businessmen. The sensitive John Denton in Shanghai and his equally thoughtful son Robert in A Change of Flag are not really credible tycoons. They don't seem ruthless enough to accumulate fortunes in tumultuous circumstances.

But that's a quibble. The trilogy is great reading -- page-turning plots, sympathetic characters (you even find yourself pitying the aging triad), intelligent observation of the often-strained interaction between East and West and insightful asides on everything from academic jargon to the innerworkings of the triads.
1.0 out of 5 stars Pales compared to his first book, Shanghai. Oct. 28 2011
By archiveman2977 - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
After reading Shanghai, I quickly ordered A Change of Flag. From the epic, encompassing story of Shanghai that carried the reader from the changing of the city through trading, immigration and governmental controls, the followup story fell flat.

In effect, there was very little in the story line left to capture my interest.

Disappointed, I did not finish it.
5.0 out of 5 stars A Change of Flag July 22 2005
By Diane D. Clark - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Excecllent service and delivery, and good book but I am still reading it. Diane
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