In October of 1987, Rose Kho, Hong Kong girl who left home, returned and has left it again for New York to escape her life, reflects, scotch in hand, as the sun sets on the Statue of Liberty. Meanwhile, the Feds are ransacking her offices because Gordie, her employer, is under investigation for illegal arms running. Rose faces the likelihood of deportation on the eve of the day when her sister Regina, a long-time illegal immigrant, will become a U.S. citizen as a result of the amnesty program. The novel rewinds through a drama set in Hong Kong of the seventies, where Confucian family ties and British colonial society embrace Rose's "perfect" marriage to a solicitor from a prominent South African Chinese family. But even before the wedding, a dark underside to that family begins to emerge, and Rose must confront the reality of her new life as it unfolds with many surprising twists and turns.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Rose is an, ahem, blooming young woman who's seeking the meaning of life, love, and liberty as she balances the attentions (or lack thereof) of her family, her husband, and her lover.Although there are some interesting insights into the life of Hong Kong families here, it's a messy book: messiness -- of relationships, of emotions, of social standing and of the general meaning of life -- is what Hong Kong Rose is all about. So if you like lots of feelings, thinking about feelings, talking about feelings, and feeling feelings, all wrapped up in a Hong Kong package, this may be the book for you. But I found it hard going: initially, I enjoyed the book's prurient detail and catty tone, but the longer I read, the farther away the book's last page seemed to be. I felt like I was wading through quicksand: the harder I tried to stagger through the emotional swamps, the more bogged down I got.