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  • (Out of Stock) Adam's Franchise

(Out of Stock) Adam's Franchise

Lawrence Gray

English , 2016/10 Proverse Hong Kong

Tags: Literature, Fiction

210 x 150 mm , 216pp ISBN / ISSN : 978-988-8228-51-5

  • US$22.00

Out Of Stock

In the land of Daoistan, freedom has arrived at last. The revolution liberated all, then enslaved everyone, and now it was liberating them again by allowing people to own credit cards. And a man with credit is a man who has the world at his fingertips, or at least a trip into town where the temptations are pretty much as they have always been, only more people can afford them.


ADAM’S FRANCHISE is a story about Adam and his Franchise. He is not quite sure what that means, but he is a modern man, embracing the economic miracle and taking up a gift shop franchise at a new hotel. There he will sell much the same things that he always sold: baskets, pots, cultural artefacts of various kinds, except at a modern price to foreigners, should they ever care to come to the hotel. The desert that he lives in is not the most beautiful of places, policed by Omar who has to learn how to get out of his hammock, fuelled by Castrol who just loves the smell of petrol and the visions it gives him, and terrorised by nomads and Adam’s volatile brothers-in-law. But if it ever rids itself of the last vestiges of barbarism, both pre-revolutionary and revolutionary, as epitomised by Adam’s indolent, lustful, embittered, rapacious, cynical, superstitious father, Saleem, then harmony – both spiritual and economic –might assert itself. Or maybe, just air-conditioning.


Daoistan exists everywhere, or has done at some time or other. And there have been many Adams.



Adam’s Franchise is a cinematic, picaresque, family drama that reads like a comic tragedy.  Adam’s desire for modernity is contrasted against the traditional cultures of his widowed father and his wife’s taciturn family.  The events set in Daoistan that comprise the plot of this novel are amusing, slightly manic, and feel like escapades going awry.  Adam’s persistence in his desperate bid to be modern – he sets up a shop in a hotel, acquires a western suit, travels to the city to open a bank account – gives the story an intriguing energy.  He proves a sympathetic character despite his many flaws, and he somehow succeeds in spite of himself, this protagonist who is fated to be thwarted at every turn.  An enjoyable read, with a memorably mad cast of characters inhabiting a world that is slightly surreal, yet still dauntingly real.

– Xu Xi novelist, author of That Man In Our Lives


A breathless, Technicolor romp through something very like the modern, globalised world.

– Justin Hill, Author of the Washington Post Book of the Year, The Drink and Dream Teahouse

LAWRENCE GRAY was born and educated in the UK and took BA honours in Economics and Politics from Leeds University. He lived in Hong Kong for twenty four years and in 2015 moved to Johor Bahru, Malaysia. He is a professional screenwriter and director and has written many episodes of UK and Singapore TV dramas and written, produced and directed a number of films in English and Cantonese. He directed the feature film “Lust $ Found”, which he describes as an eccentric English gangster movie set in Hong Kong. He has also edited and “doctored” many feature scripts from around Asia and Australia.


Gray’s collection of short stories, Odds and Sods, was published in 2014 as a Proverse Prize Publication. It features stories that meld French farce, Chinese Opera, eligious mysticism, Hollywood and Hong Kong movies in a kaleidoscopic tour de force.


His novel Cop Show Heaven, also published by Proverse Press, is a parody of parodies, set in a part of Hell rented by Heaven for the purpose of allowing dead film directors to continue making movies. It is a Pirandelloesque topsy-turvy concoction of Hollywood plotting and stories of actors desperate for roles in bad movies that strangely echo the world of Hong Kong during the 1997 return to China.


In London he was a founder of the London Screenwriters’ Workshop and in Hong Kong he founded the Hong Kong Writers’ Circle and chaired the group for twenty years, publishing many collections of stories from a wide variety of Hong Kong writers.


Gray has taught screenwriting in various cities around the world, and was one of the first to professionalise the industry. In 1996, he won the first Public Awareness of Science drama award (PAWS) and the Hong Kong Asia Film Financing Forum’s (HAF) award for best Hong Kong Film project of the year 2006.

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