The World of Suzie Wong is a 1957 novel by Richard Mason. The main characters are Robert Lomax, a young British artist living in Hong Kong, and Suzie Wong, the title character, a Chinese woman who works as a prostitute. The novel has been adapted into a play, spawned two unofficial sequels, a film and a ballet.
Robert Lomax is a young Englishman who, after completing his National Service, goes to work on a plantation in British Malaya. During his time in Malaya, Lomax decides to pursue a new career as an artist for a year.
Lomax visits Hong Kong in search of inspiration for his paintings. He checks into the Nam Kok Hotel, not realizing at first that it is a brothel catering mainly to British and American sailors. However, this only makes the hotel more charming in Lomax’s eyes, and a better source of subject matter for his paintings.
Lomax quickly befriends most of the hotel’s bargirls, but is fascinated by the archetypal “hooker with a heart of gold”, Suzie Wong. Wong previously introduced herself to him as Wong Mee-ling, a rich virgin whose father owns four houses and more cars than she can count, and who later pretends not to recognize him at the hotel. Lomax had originally decided that he would not have sex with any of the bargirls at the hotel because he lacks the funds to pay for their services. However, it soon emerges that Suzie Wong is interested in him not as a customer but as a serious love interest. Although Wong becomes the kept woman of two other men, and Robert Lomax briefly becomes attracted to a young British nurse, Lomax and Wong are eventually united and the novel ends happily with them marrying.