Tash Aw was born in Taipei, grew up in Malaysia, and now lives in London. His first book, The Harmony Silk Factory, won the Whitbread Award for First Novel and was long-listed for the Man Booker Prize.
The plot of Five Star Billionaire, with its multiple protagonists, may seem deceptively familiar: a neglected boy claws his way from rags to riches; a country girl tries to make her way in the city; a city girl tries to prove her worth in a man's world of business; a rock star falls victim to the fame machine; and a rich man tumbles from grace.
This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Celeste Headlee. Michel Martin is away. Coming up, preachers serve as spiritual guides for their flocks, but what happens when a preacher loses his own faith? We'll talk with one man who knows what that's like in just a few minutes. But first, anthropologists and archaeologists, of course, study the way that groups live throughout history.
The other day my 14-year-old asked me whether I would re-live my teen years for $1 million. The answer was a resounding "No!" Memories of searing humiliation still lurk in my (scarred) subconscious. The senior prom alone could keep me chatting with a psychiatrist for months. (Even though, from what I've heard, my date is happily out of the closet and a very successful interior decorator. All's well that ends well, right?) At this point, those memories should be a funny, rosy glow far in the distance. Ha.
World-class snowboarder Kevin Pearce suffered a severe brain injury in a brutal 2009 crash captured by cameras he and his teammates were wearing. His road to recovery — and to a new sense of self — is the central narrative thread of the documentary The Crash Reel.
Credit Christian Stadler / HBO Pictures
High-energy footage evokes the thrills viewers crave from watching extreme sports — and suggests the audience's complicity in the crashes and injuries that are the inevitable cost.
"You need to be prepared for the Kevin who comes back not to be the same Kevin."
That's what a doctor told the parents of snowboarder Kevin Pearce following the brain injury he suffered in late 2009, while training for the Vancouver Olympics.
Those words, simple but painful for a parent to hear, are essentially what Lucy Walker's moving documentary, The Crash Reel, is about: the way traumatic brain injuries — wounds that, after recovery, can seemingly be invisible — leave their victims no choice but to be different people.