Lao She

Mr Ma and Son
  • Mr Ma and Son

  • Mr Ma and his son Ma Wei run an antiques shop nestled in a quiet street by St Paul's Cathedral in London, where, far from their native Peking, they struggle to navigate the bustling pavements and myriad social conventions of 1920s English society. The Mas must negotiate love, money, misunderstandings and the London smog, aided and hindered by a cast of brilliantly drawn characters: their well-meaning landlady Mrs Weddeburn, her carefree daughter Mary, old China hand Reverend Ely and his formidable wife.

    Both a bitingly funny satire of Sino-British relations, and an emotionally powerful story of the experience of Chinese immigrants to the United Kingdom at the turn of the twentieth century, Mr Ma and Son is a compelling, witty novel from one of China's most celebrated writers.

Lao She was born in 1899 to a poor Manchu family in Beijing. He left China in his mid-twenties to teach Chinese at the University of London, where he stayed for the next five years. Mr Ma and Son was his third and final novel written during his London years, and was serialized in 1929. Lao She continued to teach and write upon his return to China, and became an established and respected author renowned for his humorist style. He ventured into the realm of satire and science fiction with Cat Country in 1932, also published by Penguin. He committed suicide in Beijing in 1966, a few years after being labelled an anti-Maoist and counter-revolutionary by the Red Guards.

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