The Ballad of a Small Player by Lawrence Osborne
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
From the opening sentence, it’s clear Lawrence Osborne knows what he’s doing, that you’re in the hands of an assured writer. The writing is beautifully sparse, navigating the reader through the casinos of Macau, dipping into China’s culture. The only issue is that it’s hard to empathise with any of the characters. Like the ghost stalking Lord Doyle, the leads seem transparent without the definition needed for the reader to root for them, and the secondary characters come and go like Lord Doyle’s fortunes. Still, the quality of the prose compensates for these shortcomings. Recommended.