Drawing from her own experience, as well as countless interviews with the artists, protestors, students, and writers who have made Hong Kong their home, journalist Karen Cheung gives us an insider's view of this remarkable city.
... characterized by a narrative style both intimate and candid. It’s hard to avoid being swept up by [Cheung's] story ... Her story is a welcome counterpart to narratives that portray Hong Kong as either as exotic or, more recently, as dystopian. Although she writes about various protest movements going back to 2003, also a year that was plagued by the deaths of Hong Kong icons Leslie Cheung and Anita Mui, she also, by merging memoir and observation, goes far beyond the issues that make international headlines.
... pulsing ... Cheung writes eloquently about what it means to find your place in a city as it vanishes before your eyes ... Cheung is bracingly forthright about her depression and the difficulties of navigating a public health system that is often unaffordable and inaccessible ... There is an almost trancelike quality to her memories, of both dramatic and quiet moments ... Cheung’s critiques ring true...her derision for this faceless 'cosmopolitan' set is so scathing, her view that affluent, apolitical people overlook the real Hong Kong so transparent, that I found myself wanting to hear more from these people themselves ... Readers won’t find those views here; Cheung does not claim to represent anyone but herself. She drops Chinese characters in the text sometimes without translation or explanation. 'Maybe this isn’t the book you expected to read,' Cheung writes. That’s the point. For far too long, faraway interests have claimed to speak for Hong Kong. It’s time to let Hong Kongers, in all their multitudes, speak for themselves.
Cheung spends little time on political analysis or colonial history ... But through her graceful writing, especially about her early years, we learn about Hong Kong’s many different worlds and social strata, and her struggles to find her place ... Her lyrical book is part diary and part love letter to her hometown ... [the book ends on] a bleak note.