Thursday, January 13, 2005

The Wanchai Chronicles

That Blogger nav bar sure is useful. I was bored and started clicking "next blog" and wandered around the blogosphere for awhile until I stumbled unto The Wanchai Chronicles by Svend Christiansen. He posted his work on blogger for advance reviews and opinions before it is due to be released in Feburary.

It's good, please go check it out. Here's the synopsis of the novella:

The Wanchai Chronicles is a haunting and intimate look into one man’s ruinous pursuit of passion in the anything-goes world of Hong Kong’s red-light district: Wanchai. Author Svend Christiansen offers an intelligent morality tale that explores issues of desire and faithfulness in Wanchai. Karl Haugaard, an American venture capitalist, in Asia on business, risks the love of his wife, Kirsten, for a growing infatuation with Tika, a beautiful Indonesian teenager. Karl is torn between his sexual desires and his need to rescue Tika, who is determined to escape the drudgery of life as a domestic servant. Upon his return home to California, Karl’s conflicting feelings of guilt and longing increase in intensity. Eventually, a confrontation with Kristen sends Karl down a path that provides no way back.

-courtesy of Svend Christiansen

Before I begin, let me give you a little bit of background on my point of view. I spent a few years of my childhood in Hong Kong growing up there and as an adult I have returned and have done my fair share of partying there. I have some cool Hong Kong drinking stories but I haven't done nearly half the stuff that the characters done in the novella.

The descriptions of Hong Kong are so vivid, it's like I'm back there. If you've never been to Hong Kong, read this, for it describes the place in better detail than I ever will. What kept me going throughout this story were the paralells that I drew between The Wanchai Chronicles and Madama Butterfly, the Puccini opera, which in turn is based upon a turn of the 20th century American novel.

You know, it's the standard tale of how a white man goes to Asia, get stricken with the Yellow Fever. Then he hooks up with a native girl, tragedy ensues. However, in this version of Madame Butterfly, the girl is not the victim.

Please, check it out.


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