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Pabellon Chino de Amor

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The Love Pavilion follows a young British clerk, Tom Brent, who must track down a former friend—now suspected of murder—in Malaya. Tom faces great danger, both from the mysterious Malayan jungles and the political tensions between British officers, but the novel is perhaps most memorable for the strange, beautiful romance between Tom and a protean Eurasian beauty whom he m The Love Pavilion follows a young British clerk, Tom Brent, who must track down a former friend—now suspected of murder—in Malaya. Tom faces great danger, both from the mysterious Malayan jungles and the political tensions between British officers, but the novel is perhaps most memorable for the strange, beautiful romance between Tom and a protean Eurasian beauty whom he meets in the eponymous Chinese Love Pavilion.


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The Love Pavilion follows a young British clerk, Tom Brent, who must track down a former friend—now suspected of murder—in Malaya. Tom faces great danger, both from the mysterious Malayan jungles and the political tensions between British officers, but the novel is perhaps most memorable for the strange, beautiful romance between Tom and a protean Eurasian beauty whom he m The Love Pavilion follows a young British clerk, Tom Brent, who must track down a former friend—now suspected of murder—in Malaya. Tom faces great danger, both from the mysterious Malayan jungles and the political tensions between British officers, but the novel is perhaps most memorable for the strange, beautiful romance between Tom and a protean Eurasian beauty whom he meets in the eponymous Chinese Love Pavilion.

30 review for Pabellon Chino de Amor

  1. 5 out of 5

    mark monday

    The Love Pavilion was built by a Chinese merchant in Malaya. Within the Love Pavilion is an antechamber decorated with friezes of dragons, fish, and birds; beyond that room are the Golden Room, then the Jade Room, and finally the Scarlet Room. When the Japanese invaded Malaya during World War II, and held it for 3 years, the Chinese merchant was beheaded. His head was displayed on a pole for all of the villagers to see and so be instructed on the new order. During those 3 years of occupation, de The Love Pavilion was built by a Chinese merchant in Malaya. Within the Love Pavilion is an antechamber decorated with friezes of dragons, fish, and birds; beyond that room are the Golden Room, then the Jade Room, and finally the Scarlet Room. When the Japanese invaded Malaya during World War II, and held it for 3 years, the Chinese merchant was beheaded. His head was displayed on a pole for all of the villagers to see and so be instructed on the new order. During those 3 years of occupation, depending on the whims of the occupying soldiers, villagers were marched to the courtyard of the Love Pavilion and made to kneel there. 42 villagers eventually lost their heads in front of the Chinese merchant's pavilion. The courtyard became known as the Garden of Madness. The Love Pavilion was written by one of my favorite authors, Paul Scott. It displays many of the virtues that I loved in his Raj Quartet: dense, sometimes hallucinatory prose full of vivid description - of landscapes, places, bodies, faces; characterization that goes deep, so that a certain understanding of his characters is reached, while still leaving them ambiguous, capable of terrible deeds; themes that are concerned with masculinity and femininity and gender roles, the shifting roles of colonizer and colonized, and the metaphysical: what is the nature of the mind, what is the purpose of existence. You know, light stuff. The Love Pavilion is about Mysticism versus Rationalism. Mysticism is embodied by Brian Saxby, an adventurer always reaching for higher places, less-traveled paths, ways of existence not bound to tradition or by society. Saxby is first mentor to our protagonist, then symbolic father figure, then a person to be hunted; Saxby eventually becomes something very dangerous, murderous, a threat to those who would move on past the now-ended war, an animal in the jungle that must be put down. Rationalism is embodied by every other male character with a speaking part, not including our protagonist. Rationalism is shown at its weakest, most pathetically sentimental, most understandable, in Major Reid: a Good Man, a man's man, father to his troop of soldier boys, guardian of masculine codes, tormented by an inchoate guilt over his ambiguous past failures, a leader who views the slaughter of supposed enemies as a pleasant daytime activity, character-building for his young lions, much like the enjoyment he provides them in the evening: the whores who shall visit and pamper them in the Love Pavilion. The Love Pavilion's protagonist is Tom Brent, who must find his own way between these two paths. He is a compelling, frustrating, wounded, relatable character. Although perhaps most relatable to... men. This is a man's book in that all women are viewed through a certain lens of condescension by its characters. They exist to please and sometimes irritate men. A man's needs include sexual gratification and it is expected that the Malay women shall provide this on demand. Even relatable Tom feels this, at one point asking his boss Greystone - another Rational Man - if he could have a girl assigned to him during his time working the land, a village girl who can cook his meals, handle his laundry, service his sexual needs at end of day. He asks this as casually as a person would ask for a towel to dry themselves after bathing. Only one man in this novel does not think of women this way: the murderous mystic, Brian Saxby. The Love Pavilion's love interest is Teena Chang, biracial, mistress of the whores of the Love Pavilion, a whore herself. Teena has two faces that she displays to signal how she will be engaging with her clients: her European mood and her Chinese mood. These faces, these moods, are alternately Rational and Mystical. She puts them on and takes them off as she sees fit. Teena, unlike each and every other male character, recognizes that such moods, such ideas, should not be the sole attribute of any person, they should be adopted as needed, and discarded in the same way. Teena's world is a small one, purposely so; a world that is not concerned with the loftier goals of Mysticism and Rationalism. Of course, Tom falls quickly and deeply in love with Teena. Of course, Teena must die. There is only room for binary thinking in the great big world of men, the men who would create and use the Love Pavilion as they see fit.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Lobstergirl

    The Love Pavilion (1960) opens with the first person narrator, British Tom Brent, reflecting back on a scene of great exoticism: the Chinese "love pavilion" on the grounds of a small estate in Malaya, where he had gone in search of an old and mysterious friend and fallen in love with a half-Chinese prostitute in 1945. The estate had been owned by a wealthy Chinese merchant, who was murdered one day and his head set on a pike to frighten and warn onlookers. Then the pavilion became the site of ex The Love Pavilion (1960) opens with the first person narrator, British Tom Brent, reflecting back on a scene of great exoticism: the Chinese "love pavilion" on the grounds of a small estate in Malaya, where he had gone in search of an old and mysterious friend and fallen in love with a half-Chinese prostitute in 1945. The estate had been owned by a wealthy Chinese merchant, who was murdered one day and his head set on a pike to frighten and warn onlookers. Then the pavilion became the site of executions of Chinese soldiers/guerrillas (the Japanese had conquered Malaya and occupied it from 1942-1945). At the point when the British kicked out the Japanese, the pavilion with its beautiful green, yellow, and scarlet rooms became the location of assignations between the local British officers and several young Chinese prostitutes who would dress in gowns corresponding to the colors of their rooms; the British officer would wear a dressing robe in the color of the prostitute whose company he chose to enjoy that night. Tom Brent tells us that he had fallen in love with one of these prostitutes, Teena Chang - but his story begins earlier, in India. Brent at the age of about twenty has left England to make his way in India, since that was the path of his grandfather. (He's an orphan, I think - at any rate, family-less, aimless, and ambitionless.) He lands in Bombay where he works as a low-level clerk until he happens to cross paths with a charismatic fellow-Brit about ten or fifteen years older named Brian Saxby, who also seems to have no career. Saxby waxes philosophical, endlessly. (This put me in mind of some of the manly philosophizing that tends to go on in the thrillers of John Buchan, although a lurid - by which I actually mean pale - imitation thereof.) Brent and Saxby become friends, more or less. Saxby persuades Brent to leave Bombay, which Saxby derides as dull, for Punjab to work on the arid lands of a farmer he knows named Greystone. Brent spends about four years working these arid lands, though Greystone never seems to be able to grow anything. At this point we are about 75-80 pages into the novel, and it seems aimless and purposeless indeed. In Bombay Brent has an affair with an Indian girl whose nipples are always straining the fabric of her clothes. In the Punjab he dates a British girl named Millicent, but tells us the relationship will never go anywhere. The war intervenes - although very, very succinctly. Brent does something during the war - fights, maybe? Leads a platoon? It's hard to say and it's all over in a sentence or two. Then a Major Turner asks him to go to Malaya to find Brian Saxby, who has gone to ground. The Chinese merchant has been found murdered, and Brian Saxby is Suspect Number One. This plot turn is a nice development for the reader, who was just about to donate the novel to the local Rosicrucian Society for the Betterment of Illiterates. Now instead of skimming endless lame philosophical conversations and waiting as Greystone tries to knead something living from the soil, perhaps we might be embarking on a Heart of Darkness-esque journey. In Malaya, Brent is housed with the local British army officers. Their leader, Major Reid, kindly donates the time and services of his prostitute, Teena Chang - said by some to be the most beautiful woman in Malaya - to Brent. Let it be said that everything in the novel having to do with women, prostitutes, and love feels like a phony scaffold on which Scott is constructing the idea of "the exotic." It takes the novel into Reader's Digest Condensed Books territory. What the reader wants is more of the hunt-for-Saxby plotline, which, granted, is not that far above Reader's Digest. But at least it feels like an adventure, with menace, and intriguingly, the sense of menace comes not only from the mysterious Saxby, who from various accounts is either dead, dying, sick, or gone completely off his rocker and darkening his skin and dressing like a Sikh, but also from the trigger-happy British officers assisting in the hunt for Saxby. I was a huge fan of Scott's The Raj Quartet, but I also read it years ago and I'm hoping when I reread it it won't be as disappointing as The Love Pavilion.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Leslie

    This was a find in a used bookshop - an unread pocket paperback published in 1960, and this was the paragraph that hooked me on page 36: "Ah well. You are a romantic. You're probably capable of anything. Of falling in love with intimate distances, let's say, falling in love with something you've never set eyes on. Oh, that's the best kind of romanticism. The very best." This was a find in a used bookshop - an unread pocket paperback published in 1960, and this was the paragraph that hooked me on page 36: "Ah well. You are a romantic. You're probably capable of anything. Of falling in love with intimate distances, let's say, falling in love with something you've never set eyes on. Oh, that's the best kind of romanticism. The very best."

  4. 4 out of 5

    Richard Wilton

    If you read this earlier book after reading the Raj Quartet, as I did, you can tell that Scott was still developing an idea. He is fascinated by the idea that there is more to life than the cut and dried approach of the British military or administrative classes. His looking for it in the East, where, rightly or wrongly, he sees practical matters taking on lesser import than the mystical. A certain type of Westerner is attracted in this way. In this novel, Saxby encourages Brent to seek God or t If you read this earlier book after reading the Raj Quartet, as I did, you can tell that Scott was still developing an idea. He is fascinated by the idea that there is more to life than the cut and dried approach of the British military or administrative classes. His looking for it in the East, where, rightly or wrongly, he sees practical matters taking on lesser import than the mystical. A certain type of Westerner is attracted in this way. In this novel, Saxby encourages Brent to seek God or the truth by testing himself, away from the western way of life. Brent is never quite sure if he's found something. In the same way, his affection for the mixed-race prostitute is troubled, because she deliberately confuses by adopting a western or eastern persona. He is desperate to believe that it is more than a commercial transaction. He is desperate to find his soul somewhere in Malaya. In the Raj Quartet, this search is played out much more subtly by more developed characters. In the end, the relationship with the prostitute leans too much to frustrated sexual fantasy (although such frustrations were no doubt real enough for Scott when he was serving in the East during WW2). The woman's view is never seen. This is the enormous strength of the Raj Quartet -- that many of the protagonists are women of all ages.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Judy

    I love Paul Scott, the author of the Raj Quartet. His books perfectly reflect the best and the worst of the British in India and, at the same time, give a beautifully drawn picture of the country. The Chinese Love Pavilion is atypically set mainly in Malaya, just after the end of the Second World War. The army are looking for Saxby who is supected of various murders and has disappeared into the jungle. They enlist the help of Tom Brent who has known Saxby, an eccentric and strange character. The I love Paul Scott, the author of the Raj Quartet. His books perfectly reflect the best and the worst of the British in India and, at the same time, give a beautifully drawn picture of the country. The Chinese Love Pavilion is atypically set mainly in Malaya, just after the end of the Second World War. The army are looking for Saxby who is supected of various murders and has disappeared into the jungle. They enlist the help of Tom Brent who has known Saxby, an eccentric and strange character. The Chinese Love Pavilion is where the army officers meet their Chinese mistresses, a mysterious place full of sensual colours and imagery. This is a love story as well as a novel about mysticism, power and corruption. I am enjoying it immensely.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Janis

    Even in comparison to the Raj Quartet, this early more minor work by Paul Scott was pretty amazing. The story takes place in India prior to and just after WW2. It concerns the lives of two British ex-patriots who meet before the war, each seeking a deeper meaning and connection to life. Their paths intersect again after the war, with the experience of war having changed both, and in some ways, bringing forth the essential nature in each. Additionally, the protagonist and narrator falls in love w Even in comparison to the Raj Quartet, this early more minor work by Paul Scott was pretty amazing. The story takes place in India prior to and just after WW2. It concerns the lives of two British ex-patriots who meet before the war, each seeking a deeper meaning and connection to life. Their paths intersect again after the war, with the experience of war having changed both, and in some ways, bringing forth the essential nature in each. Additionally, the protagonist and narrator falls in love with a Eurasian prostitute, whose distinct role and perspective are brought to bear on the equation. Highly recommended for followers of Paul Scott, or those seeking and introduction.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Pete

    As in The Raj Quartet, the setting is interesting, the characters are powerful, and the storyline is griping. I thoroughly enjoyed this book.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Samantha

  9. 5 out of 5

    Gary Fitts

  10. 5 out of 5

    Nick Spenceley

  11. 5 out of 5

    Lynley

  12. 4 out of 5

    Hazel Barker

  13. 4 out of 5

    Iain McNab

  14. 5 out of 5

    James

  15. 4 out of 5

    Q-riel

  16. 4 out of 5

    Richard

  17. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

  18. 4 out of 5

    Hari Brandl

  19. 5 out of 5

    Yooperprof

  20. 5 out of 5

    Elata

  21. 5 out of 5

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  22. 5 out of 5

    Gabe

  23. 5 out of 5

    Jeremy Silverman

  24. 5 out of 5

    Jane

  25. 5 out of 5

    Deborah f Tweten

  26. 4 out of 5

    Iain McNab

  27. 5 out of 5

    travlerr

  28. 4 out of 5

    Selene Mikaiel

  29. 4 out of 5

    Sarkar.bipasha

  30. 4 out of 5

    Stuart Foster

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