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The descriptions were too long There could have been background information about the protagonist. Patricia Powell s novel was unlike anything I ve ever read before in the greatest sense to others it may be difficult to get through because there is no one definitive conflict driving the novel It s this almost mystical mix of identity and gender and cultural confusion The underlying tension pulses throughout the novel, forcing you to keep on reading It s a modern novel set during the turn of the nineteenth century dealing with very modern issues definitely recommend for anyone looking for something different to read Highly recommend some basic research into Jamaican culture and history to better understand the story. #FREE DOWNLOAD ⚢ The Pagoda ê Mr Lowe Lives The Simple And Happy Life Of A Shopkeeper A Chinese Immigrant To Jamaica In The S, Lowe Revels In The Lush Beauty Of His Adoptive Land But The Past Confronts Lowe In Everything He Does, And So His History Reveals Itself The Tale Of His Exile From China, His Shipboard Adventures, An Unwanted Pregnancy And The Arrangement That Was Made To Avoid Scandal The Arrangement Places Lowe In A Marriage Of Convenience With A Mysterious Widow, Miss SylvieLowe And Sylvie S Relationship Is Complex, Vivid, Erotic, And Full Of Secrets Sylvie Is A Light Skinned Black Woman Who, In The Course Of Their Three Decades Together, Gives Up Three Dark Skinned Children For Adoption But Lowe S Secret Is Much Startling, And Remarkable I should have liked this I know a lot of people who do And in terms of story content, it s an important book, complexly addressing race and gender in Jamaica at the turn of the century.My complaints are purely aesthetic what I couldn t get past was the writing So in other words, my issues with the novel are about as subjective as they could get But for what it s worth, Powell s prose is just too heavy on the description for me, to the point that I sometimes felt like I was in adjective hell And there s a lot of alliteration, which I m never really into, particularly in prose Sentences like He looked out into the lamplit silence, willing his racing heart to quieten, willing his shaking and wet hands to be still, the roar in his head to cease A trembling hand reached up to tug at the puffy brush of mustache, to push a way hair that had fallen on his forehead, now damp and warm Just too much, and it doesn t let up a bit suffocating to read. I liked the way in which the author Patricia Powell used descriptive language in the writing of this story The fascinating subject of a Chinese emigrant to Jamaica avoids the surfeit of violence in some recent Jamaican literature This tale begins near the turn of the twentieth century A girl escapes her fate as the settlement of her family s debt, marriage to the disabled, aged man who made the loan Only carrying from home the memories of her father s stories and yearnings about travel, she draws upon his fantasies, escaping the man s house and stowing away on a ship holding a cargo of indentured and bound humans The consequent sea voyage with Cecil, the captain, puts her in a second situation in which she lacks agency to follow her dreams and be herself While he arranges to protect Lowe real name Lau A Yin on the ship and in Jamaica, her pasted mustache and her disguise as a male shopkeeper with a wife sap her of emotional responsiveness to other characters After Lowe suffers the loss of Cecil, the shop, and Miss Sylvie, a period of healing can begin, eventuating in a authentic character, who finds interest in other characters lives, reciprocates love, ends injustice, and transmits memories of Chinese culture to the next generations. I am in love with this book, I honestly don t know how to review it without spoiling it.It was amazing Read it if you are interrested in Caribbean literature and history,the themes of homosexuality and gender. The plot is not entirely linear It fluctuates between actions in the present, events in the past, and Mr Lowe s stream of consciousness At times, the transition between these formats is either smooth or jarring For this reason, Powell sounds like she s interrupting her own story I think Powell does this intentionally to depict the way Mr Lowe s traumatic past often interrupts his life in the present.For a good half of the novel, I was mostly doing this But as I got on to what was truly happening with Mr Lowe, I felt and that I was unraveling the story and the themes There are so many different themes that layer this book each time you read the book, there will be something there that you didn t notice before, a different lens through which the entire novel can be filtered. A solid 3.5 stars ONLY BECAUSE the writing was hard to get into and I was seriously considering just dropping the book 2.5 for the writing , but after getting past the first few chapters, and upon finishing the book, I was completely blown away at the art that Patricia Powell had crafted The plot the ways in which Powell had woven in race relations, classism, and gender performativity so perfectly into Mr Lowe s character truly blew my mind 4.5 for the plot. Just now, I set down this novel, and my surroundings confuse me I m at home, but wasn t I just in Jamaica In the late 1800 s This book is glorious, and I felt like I was in a dream all the days I read it When I showered, I thought about the perfumed water the characters poured and washed with before bed I imagined what it would be like to only have a mule as transportation Often, I stopped reading in order to google images of Jamaica in the 1890 s I want to visit The richness of this novel reminds me of ATONEMENT The organic nature of the novel feels like a Woody Allen film Everyone should read this novel. Lowe Chin is a Chinese immigrant living in 1890s Jamaica He lives amongst the hostile Jamaicans with his light skinned wife and a large secret A secret he s been agonizing over telling his daughter about He wishes to tell her of his life in China, why he had to flee, what happened on his passage across the sea, an unexpected pregnancy, a secret identity, and his sham marriage to an octoroon The story begins with the burning of a bad, old life and the rebuilding of a better, new one PlotThe plot, once I knew what the book was going to be about spoilers and all , is what initially drew me in The diversity in the book helped with that, though The overall plot is about a Chinese man living in Jamaica who has a dream to start up a school for Chinese immigrants to continue to learn and teach about their culture Along the way he is forced to look at himself and his life This is of a slice of life contemporary book than anything The plot isn t particularly strong as it deals with the characters The driving force in the book are the people in the books, not the plot itself WritingThe writing was a little too wordy for my tastes It was easy to understand and made for beautiful lines and great descriptions, don t get me wrong, but it was just too much for me I m the type of reader that appreciates a well described setting or character but it s where too much of a good thing comes in When things are over described all the time it takes away from things that need to be written like that The Pagoda is like this right off the bat and it might be a little overwhelming for some readers CharactersLowe Chin was one of the most real and complex characters that I have ever had the fortune of knowing He s this character who was much closed off and mostly in his head in the beginning And as the story rolled on and things happened to him, he became and unraveled and open Lowe had strengths and very great weaknesses that weren t overcome at the drop of a hat A lot of his problems were mental and he had to spend time mentally working through them.On the other side of the coin, Lowe was a frustrating character He was very hypocritical at times and never acknowledged it He could also be quite selfish and nothing was done about that either Much like my overall feelings of the book, I was torn in two directions about my feelings towards Lowe as a character I think he s a good character who developed nicely but I wish the text would have acknowledged his flaws All of the other characters were just there to either push Lowe into doing something or creating challenge and discord in his life They were props than anything else Things I LikedI particularly liked how The Pagoda and Powell didn t shy away from the dynamics of colorism amongst black people The light skinned, white passing woman knew that she was better received than the darker skinned Jamaicans and she used this knowledge to her advantage As the book was following the life of the Chinese immigrant, not much is actually seen about this, but it is noted and talked about than once I very much appreciate what the story was trying to show I don t think it was done all that well or dug deep as it could have, but I think it was a great idea nonetheless Things I Didn t LikeThe gender things going on in this book weren t as explored as I had wished it would be I was geared up for a book that dug deep into how gender relations were in turn of the century Jamaica There was actually very little of that I can think of a small, few instances where something gender related is questioned, but it s usually not for long and not very deep.DiversityThe only white people in the book is a man named Cecil who is terrible and is dead by the first time the author meets him The rest of the people in the book are either Chinese, black, or Indian There is a character that may be labeled transgender by today s terminology, but it s never explicitly stated or even really hinted at and they re of a crossdresser, really There is one disabled character, Dulcie, who has a bad leg and drags it behind her She s of a background character and isn t too involved with the events of the book The diversity in The Pagoda is much better than your average book, but it could also be better.OverallI m torn on my thoughts with regards to this book On one hand I liked it so much that I finished it within the span of twenty four hours It has a great premise that sounded very promising On the other hand, it wasn t handled as well as I wished it could have been In the hands of someone who has a better grasp on gender politics, The Pagoda could have really been a noticeable book Ignoring how the gender stuff was handled, there are other themes within the book that make it worthwhile I m happy the book was in a majority non white setting, but racial dynamics could have also been explored a little I enjoyed the book but it could have been better view spoiler I am using Lowe s male name as to not spoil anything and he him pronouns because even at the end of the book, though he signs his letter with his actual name, he still uses the same pronouns throughout the entire story, including the very end hide spoiler