Images of Hong Kong and Macau in British and French Literature

L to R: Olivier Lebé, Lawrence Osborne, and Peter Gordon in the evening discussion on July 21, 2014. (Asia Society Hong Kong Center)

Hong Kong, July 21, 2014 — As an international city in Asia, Hong Kong is never mono-dimensional. Sharp contrasts are observed here, such as the old and the new, and the East and the West. Nonetheless, these distinct sides coexist in harmony, and refract the unique glamour of the city. By viewing Hong Kong through different scopes and perspectives, we can discover the cultural gems hidden from the way locals experience their lives in the city. In the literary “entente cordiale”, two acclaimed writers, Lawrence Osborne, author of the newly released and critically acclaimed novel The Ballad of a Small Player, and French author Olivier Lebé, whose novel Repulse Bay won the 2013 Prix du Premier Roman, discussed the image of Hong Kong and Macau in contemporary British and French literature.

Moderated by Peter Gordon, editor of The Asian Review of Books, the session showcased Osborne's novel, which tells of a British lawyer known as "Lord" Doyle who is gambling away an embezzled fortune at the baccarat tables in Macau. He is saved by Dao-Ming, who as a result loses herself. Lebé’s is a story of glamour and high-society, it tells of a French expat who meets, and falls in love with, a Hong Kong movie star on Repulse Bay beach. Through describing the lives and experiences of the citizens, the vibrant and unique identities of the two cities are pictured with a vivid and colorful narration.

Video: Watch the complete program (1 hr., 5 min.)