For a book that is fundamentally about hope, Philippe Sands’s The Last Colony is a depressing read, not just its in its tale of colonial injustice, but also in its recounting of the US and Britain’s refusal to abide by the norms, the “rules-based order”, that they demand of others. “One rule for you, another for us?” as Sands succinctly puts it.
Zheng Xiaoqiong has come to be known as a “migrant worker poet”, accurate in the sense she is, or has been, both, and that a great deal of her work is informed by the life and hardships endured by Chinese migrant factory workers.
It may come as a surprise, but probably shouldn’t, that the seemingly well-worn concepts of “losing” and “saving face” are relatively modern and their wide usages in English date from the period of 19th-century imperialism. In his new (and refreshingly brief) book On Saving Face: A Brief History of Western Appropriation, Michael Keevak claims the terms’ wide acceptance can be quite precisely traced to a publication of the last decade of the 19th century.
Jessica Au’s novella Cold Enough For Snow won the inaugural “Novel Prize” in 2020 while still in manuscript; it’s easy to understand what the judges saw in it. Compact and terse yet flowing, both concrete and ambiguous, intimate but distant, modest yet knowing, the book manages to find universality in the careful observation of detail.
“The cities that shaped the ancient world bore hardly any resemblance to cities as we understand them today, just as the ancient world itself had little in common with that in which we live,” writes the late John Julius Norwich in the introduction to Cities That Shaped the Ancient World.
Claire, an ethnic Korean grad student from Switzerland, arrives in Tokyo to escort her grandparents on their first visit to Korea since they left to escape the Korean War. They run “Shiny”, the somewhat down-at-heel pachinko parlor of the title. This trip takes a few weeks of preparation and to help fill the time, Claire signs up to tutor 12-year-old Mieko in French.
Don Pasquale is the last of Gaetano Donizetti’s great trio of comic operas which includes L’elisir d’amore and La fille du régiment. And it was to this classic that Opera Hong Kong turned for a lighter entry for this summer’s semi-staged production at Hong Kong City Hall.