The first time I ever visited a place I’d read about in a travel book was when my family took a holiday in Hong Kong in 1993. I was twelve, and I’d found and read a yellowing edition of Ian Fleming’s Thrilling Cities only the previous year. In Hong Kong, the inaugural stop on his itinerary, Fleming received a Tiger Balm massage, messed around with chopsticks, played fan-tan in Macau, and discussed the Bretton Woods agreement. Given my age, I could partake in only one of these thrills. I concentrated hard, during my trip, to see if the city felt in any way like Fleming’s Hong Kong, but in vain. Much later,
Top Reads of 2019
Her Left Hand, The Darkness
Alison Smith on the week she spent with Ursula K. Le Guin.
Charlie Parker Plays Bossa Nova
This surreal tale from Haruki Murakami circles a Charlie Parker album that never existed. Translated from the Japanese by Philip Gabriel.
A monastic community persists after a ‘great chaos and collapse’ in this story by the 2018 Nobel Prize for Literature laureate, Olga Tokarczuk. Translated from the Polish by Jennifer Croft
Two poems from Rebecca Tamás’ collection WITCH.
On High Heels and Lotus Feet
Summer Brennan on high heels, foot-binding, and our ongoing performances of gender.