Shanghai Tang

Elizabeth Renstrom for TIME

Tash Aw's Five Star Billionarie

The hungers and furies of the exploding Asian metropolis are all the literary rage. Aravind Adiga gave aspiring India a ferocious, vengeful voice in his 2008 Man Booker Prize-winning debut novel, The White Tiger. Mohsin Hamid, in How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia, offers an allegorical rise and fall in the shape of a self-help manual. Tash Aw, in his Five Star Billionaire, also serves up self-help maxims before every chapter, but his work aches with grieving humanity as it follows the crisscrossing ups and downs of five migrant characters trying to make their mark on contemporary Shanghai. Insofar...

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