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  • Hong Kong Stories

Hong Kong Stories

Old Themes New Voices

Edited by Eva Hung


English , 1999/01 Renditions Paperbacks Research Centre for Translation, CUHK

Tags: Literature

211 x 140 mm , 160pp ISBN : 978-962-7255-20-8

  • US$14.95


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The six selections contained in Hong Kong Stories, all by younger writers and all published this decade, indicate the presence of a vibrant and sophisticated writing scene. Virtually all these stories deploy multiperspective narratives to examine the familiar contemporary themes of unstable identities, gender questions, the random contingency of urban existence, and the unreliability of narration itself. However, such themes and questions have a particular resonance in the context of Hong Kong in the 1990s. While for the most part the stories focus on the more mundane events of individual lives, the foregrounding of narrativity inevitably suggests larger social levels of significance. There are no explicit references to the looming event of Hong Kong's return to the mainland, and indeed few allusions at all to political or historical events, but the themes of unstable identity or the difficulty of narrating experience constantly hint at such larger contemporary issues. China figures most extensively in the final selection, "Plenty and Sorrow" by Wong Bik Wan, in which a Hong Kong film crew attempts to narrate the stormy history of modern China through the tortuous story of an ordinary Shanghai couple, but the question whether it is anything more than another cliched commercial venture is constantly posed by the divergent narratives of the participants: actors, director, scriptwriter script·writ·er n. One who writes copy to be used by an announcer, performer, or director in a film or broadcast. script ..... Click the link for more information., and others. All but one of the stories are by women, and another major preoccupation of the collection is the position of women in the ultramodern present of Hong Kong. Patsy Kwan Lai Shan's tale "The Angel and the Angel's Halo" describes the ambiguous relationships of two women with the same man, but is framed in a self-reflective metanarrative that ultimately suggests these relationships as alternative tensions within the "author" herself. In "Addendum to a Conversation" by Chan Po Chun, a revisionary retelling of a famous Chinese myth in which the relations between the sexes has yet to be codified cod·i·fy tr.v. cod·i·fied, cod·i·fy·ing, cod·i·fies 1. To reduce to a code: codify laws. 2. To arrange or systematize. functions as a satiric commentary on the still-powerful conventional gender roles and helps the female protagonist opt for a life free of the romance trap. Dung Kai Cheung's "Young Shen Shen, in the Bible, place, perhaps close to Bethel, near which Samuel set up the stone Ebenezer. Nong" also retells an ancient romantic myth as a satiric parallel with a present- day narrative, in which the contemporary version wittily reverses the roles of the lovers.

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