Writer: Sheung – King
Publishing House: Book*hug Press
Date of Publication: October 27th 2020
Rating: 5 stars
‘’I am now alone, in a non-place, surrounded by street signs with names that are only phonetics – empty signifiers.’’
Two young people find and lose one another across the world. The narrator takes us into the heart of a beautiful and complex relationship that is fed by long conversations and Chinese folk tales. We experience his thoughts on love, loss, colonialism, western idols and appropriations, but most of all, his journey is an ode to a young woman who is as complex as the bond between the east and the West.
‘’Why don’t you say something? The silence is making me uncomfortable.’’
In moments of uneasy silence, miscommunication and emotional distance our narrator contemplates issues of belonging, actions and consequences. Should we be defined by the place in which we had the fortune or misfortune to be born? Should societies like Macau sacrifice their identity to the altar of profit? Do we haunt the street of our childhood long after we died? And what about love? Where does love lead us? How do we retain our personality when we ‘’surrender’’ our daily life to that special person that entered our lives?
Macau, Tokyo, Toronto, Taipei, Prague. Sheung – King creates a beautiful sense of place and time. The scenes in Prague will transport you to the Golden City. The trees, the evening lights, the street lamps in Toronto, the noise of a Mecca of casinos in Macau, the neon signs of Tokyo. And somehow, exquisite, haunting folk tales find their way into the narration to create a unique mixture. I loved the references to Kundera’s The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Haruki Murakami’s After the Quake, Yoko Tawada’s Persona, Han Kang’s The Vegetarian and the acute criticism towards Coppola’s horrible, offensive ‘’ film’’ Lost In Translation that is the epitome of Orientalist racial stereotyping.
The lines between Fiction and Memoir are blurred to create the most beautiful, whimsical confusion and the story of an unforgettable relationship between a sympathetic, tender narrator and a striking, enigmatic woman. I loved every page, every paragraph of this novel and I can’t wait to read more by Sheung – King.
‘’I am the one who waits.’’