One of my favorite China bloggers and journalists has gone and published another book! Ray Hecht, from the Mid West via Israel and now based in Shenzhen, is the author of The Ghost of Lotus Mountain Brothel and Loser Parade. He now brings us South China Morning Blues, a collection of tales that bind together the lives of twelve young souls lost in South China’s growing metropolis.
Each chapter brings a new snapshot of one of the twelve characters, categorized by their Chinese lunar star signs. Hecht coaxes us into their worlds with gritty dialogues and an uncensored vernacular reminiscent of Welsh and Bukowski. From the naive Danny, to the cynical Amber, every character is relatable for their flaws and neurosis, if not always entirely likeable. Each voice shares a sense of longing and displacement, something that echos among the population of China’s fast developing mega-cities. We are reminded that within every city sprawl lie a million stories being lived out in parallel.
Navigating the expat scene as a newcomer; striving to be a 21-st century women as a girl raised in a traditional Chinese family; resetting the moral compass after succumbing to cheap ‘massage’ parlours; suddenly feeling rich on a teachers wage – all the archetypes are very real and familiar to anyone who has experienced life as a foreigner in China, and fascinating for anyone who hasn’t.
Those of you who are up for a romp through Shenzhen, Guangzhou and Hong Kong alongside twelve bright young things chasing their dreams and navigating misfortune can get a copy of South China Morning Blues here
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