Thursday, March 31, 2016

The Kite Family by Hon Lai Chu

I had really, really high expectations for this book. I mean, true, I'm not very well-informed on Hong Kong's literary scene (all I know is about Lee Bo), but I have grown up watching Hong Kong dramas. So I figured that I should enjoy this book.

Unfortunately, my expectations were certainly set too high.

The introduction sounded really good, and made me really excited. But the stories... were confusing. It wasn't that they were surreal - I can deal with surreal, it's that I couldn't find a plot. Let me deal with them one by one:

The first story is 'Spoiled Brains'. I had absolutely no idea what it was about. I think it's about immigration?

The next was 'The Kite Family', the titular story. Ok, I sort of understood this one. It's about a family who is genetically predisposed to become extremely obese. I do not get the point of the story though, it felt like it was just describing a family.

The third chair was possibly the one that I liked the best. "Forrest Woods, Chair", is about a man who realises that he was meant to be a chair. Yes, it's weird, but it made sense in its own way.

The fourth story also made sense, which gave me a bit of hope. It's called "Front Teeth", and it's about a lady who has way too many teeth. And the dentist, though I didn't really understand what was going on with the dentist.

Next was "Heartbreak Hotel", which I'd rank as somewhere between "The Kite Family" and "Forrest Woods, Chair". I sort of understood it, but I wasn't sure what it was trying to say. It's about a woman who goes to live in a hotel after the building she was living in collapses.

Lastly was "Notes on an Epidemic", about some strange epidemic for which the cure is social interaction. I got the setting, but not the plot, and definitely not the ending.

While I was reading this book, I had this sense that the author was trying to make a point about Hong Kong society. It's a bit like reading Catherine Lim, only I know what she's complaining/making a point about because she's slightly more obvious and I'm Singaporean, so the references come faster to me. Here, I "catch no ball", as we say in Singlish.

It's a real pity. I was hoping to find a Hong Kong author that I could become a fan of. I guess I'm not meant for Works With A Point (which makes me a terrible ex-Literature student, I guess)

Disclaimer: I got a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for a free and honest review.


  1. For some reason your review interested me in the book. Hmmm....

  2. For some reason your review interested me in the book. Hmmm....

    1. You should definitely give it a go if you're interested XD It's possible it's just me who doesn't get it :p


I really do appreciate all comments, and I'll try my best to reply within 24 hours!