Everyone has a different take on Hong Kong. It’s a city of dreams for some, a busting metropolis for others, for you it might be about the people, for us – about the stories, sights or sceneries. With so much diversity, the city has something for everybody. Here are nine riveting, must-read books about Hong Kong which will help you know this city a little bit better, one page at a time.
Love in a Fallen City by Eileen Chang
A classic love story set in 1940s Shanghai and Hong Kong, with the backdop of WWII to set the tone, the story follows a beautiful divorcée who finds her path crossesd with a bachelor businessman who takes an interest in her. But their love story is far from a fairy tale, through the trials and tribulations of their relationship, their love triumphs.
Published in 1943, it is one of the most successful novellas written — winning hearts across Hong Kong, China and Taiwan and is now an award-winning film and TV series. The first collection of English printed novels by celebrated novelist Eileen Chang (also known as Ailing Zhang), her engaging narrative and complex characters are beautifully delivered in her writing and use of metaphors.
The Piano Teacher by Janice YK Lee
An international bestseller, this book follows the love affair of a beautiful socialite and her English lover set in the backdrop of Hong Kong in the ’40s and ’50s. Separated by the war and the Japanese invasion. The novel, boldly written with deeply flawed — but compellingly human — characters driving the narrative, the story tale unfolds in a telling of betrayal, loss, romance and history.
Published in 2009, it is Hong Kong-born American author Janice Y.K. Lee’s debut novel which became an instant best-seller and international hit.
No City for Slow Men by Jason Y. Ng
A collection of 36 essays by Jason Y. Ng covers the many social, cultural and existential happenings facing Hong Kong. From property market to old age poverty to the varied stories of the streets of Sheung Wan and the misunderstood Mainland Chinese. It is a light-hearted literary reflection of the many quirks and quandaries of the Hong Kong experience from a fresh perspective.
Mourning a Breast by Yan Zhang (Xi Xi)
Chronicling author Yan Zhang coming of age story as a Chinese growing up in Hong Kong from the age of 12, then later being diagnosed with breast cancer in adulthood, her memoir tells the all too familiar and awkward experiences of being a young girl going through puberty as well as the grief and peace of embracing the female body.
Mourning a Breast was one of the first Chinese books to explore the experiences of breast cancer patients. It was selected as one of the Top Ten Books in the Book Review page of China Times in 1992, and was later on translated into English and is now a romantic-comedy motion picture, 2 Become 1, featuring Miriam Yeung.
The Queen of Statue Square by Marshall Moore and Xu Xi
What does it mean to be a Hongkonger? This is the question in mind of the eight writers that comprise this anthology of Hongkongers in the city. Exploring the past, present and possible future definition of ethnicity and cultural identity, this collection of short stories explore what it means to be in, from and of the multi-cultural city, Hong Kong.
Hong Kong Diner: Recipes for Baos, Hotpots, Street Snacks and More… by Jeremy Pang
A vibrant tribute to the many delicious staple and emblematic dishes of Hong Kong, this cookbook is a mouth-watering ode to the varied flavours of the city that we all know and love, from Baos and buns to hotpots and fried noodles and even modern day favourites such as bubble teas.
Coming from a long lineage of cooks, and starting Europe’s only award-winning Oriental and Asian cookery school, Jeremy Pang showcases, in beautiful photography and surprisingly cutting-edge design, 70 dishes to drool over, including some of the city’s most iconic cha chaan teng highlights.
Letters Home by Jennifer Wong
Where is home? Author Jennifer Wong writes down her own experiences on homesickness, belonging, nostalgia and cultural identity as a Hong Kong-born and -raised Chinese living abroad in the west during her time as a University student in Oxford and London.
Recipient of the Hong Kong Young Artist Award (Literary Arts) and a PhD graduate, this is her third collection of poetry in which she navigates her sense of home through the art of poetry.