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Dispatch: 23 January 2017
Girl in the Golden House/Biggs, John/Paper/1740760336/S051-D1
Young Chris Wong's father believes in the old Chinese proverb: In books, there are golden houses and beautiful girls. Study with diligence, he tells Chris, and you will find riches, happiness, and wisdom. Studying law provides the golden house readily enough, but Chris finds wisdom of another sort as he searches for the right girl to live in it with him. His search takes him to an old boat-shed where he spies on girls undressing, to romantic campsites on the once-idyllic Lantau Island, to the terror and grief of the Tiananmen Massacre, to suburban Sydney and to the brothels of Wanchai. He eventually finds his girl in a room he thought was locked.
The author, John Biggs, was born in Tasmania, and has lived and taught in several countries, including nine years at the University of Hong Kong. This was during the tumultuous time before and after the handover of the former British Colony to China. He now lives in Hobart writing full time about what he felt his life would have been like had he been born in a different country, at a different time. He has published several award winning short stories. This is his first published novel.