Sweet 'n' sour ISBN: 9780006750291
Published by Lions, 1995
Low Hee's move is a major one - away from his grandmother's house in a Malaysian village, to his parents' Chinese takeaway in Bristol. He is not happy. Bristol is cold, Low has no English, and to make things worse, he has a little sister no one has told him about. School is a nightmare. Some boys bully him and take his dinner money, and he is put in the special unit because of his lack of English. His father expects a great deal of him - expectations which he cannot fulfil. He begins to notice a mysterious figure, another Chinese boy, who seems to lurk in the lane behind the takeaway, but when Low falls and has a serious head injury, he has an out-of-body experience and becomes the other boy, Liam. Liam was a nineteenth century Chinese lad who had been sold into slavery to work in the Malaysian tin mines. Low feels everything Liam had felt and experiences everything Liam had experienced, including Liam's violent death. When Low comes around from his own accident, he comes to realise that life is full of 'sweet n sour' experiences, and that whether he is in Bristol or Malaysia, he must cope. Both cultures are well drawn, and Low's problems of adjustment ring very true.