Mr Ma and Son

Summary

Er Ma
Mr Ma and Son.jpg
Penguin Modern Classics edition
AuthorLao She
CountryChina
LanguageChinese

Mr Ma and Son (simplified Chinese: 二马; traditional Chinese: 二馬; pinyin: Ėrmǎ; literally: "The Two Mas" or "Ma and Son") is a satirical novel written by Chinese author Lao She, first serialized in 1929 in the journal Fiction Monthly. Lao She's third novel, it tells of the experiences of a Chinese father and his son in London after taking over the antique shop of his newly deceased brother.[1]

Plot

The novel is divided into five parts. It chronicles the experiences of a Chinese widower, Ma Zeren (simplified Chinese: 马则仁; traditional Chinese:馬則仁), usually referred to in the text as Mr Ma, and his son Ma Wei (simplified Chinese: 马威; traditional Chinese: 馬威), as they journey to London to take over an antique shop left by Mr Ma's deceased brother, located near St Paul's Cathedral. They are recommended as lodgers to an English landlady, Mrs Wedderburn, by Mr Ma's English clergyman, Reverend Ely. In the course of the novel, Mr Ma and his son face anti-Chinese racism of all kinds, while Mr Ma falls in love with Mrs Wedderburn and Ma Wei falls for Mrs Wedderburn's daughter, Mary.

The novel is an acerbic satire revealing both the West's prejudice against the Chinese and China's "failure to stand up for itself in the world", according to academic Julia Lovell.[2]

Characters

  • Ma Zeren (simplified Chinese: 马则仁; traditional Chinese:馬則仁)
  • Ma Wei (simplified Chinese: 马威; traditional Chinese: 馬威)
  • Li Zirong (simplified Chinese: 李子荣; traditional Chinese: 李子榮)
  • Reverend Ely (simplified Chinese: 伊牧师; traditional Chinese: 伊牧師)
  • Mrs Wedderburn (simplified Chinese: 温都太太; traditional Chinese: 溫都太太)
  • Mary Wedderburn (simplified Chinese: 玛力; traditional Chinese: 瑪力)
  • Catherine Ely (simplified Chinese: 凯萨林; traditional Chinese: 凱薩林)

References

  1. ^ Lao She, Mr Ma and Son. translated by William Dolby and introduced by Julia Lovell. Penguin Modern Classics, Penguin Books, 2013, p. xi
  2. ^ Lao She, Mr Ma and Son. translated by William Dolby and introduced by Julia Lovell. Penguin Modern Classics, Penguin Books, 2013, p. xi