The Impossible City: A Hong Kong Memoir

Random. Feb. 2022. 352p. ISBN 9780593241431. $28.99. MEMOIR
Spanning over 20 years, Cheung’s debut memoir examines her tumultuous childhood and young adulthood in Hong Kong. It tragically juxtaposes the author’s severe depression with the disintegration of democracy in Hong Kong, depicting a heartrending destruction of Hongkongese cultural identity. Cheung posits and describes a step-by-step dismantling of democracy, beginning with the handover of Hong Kong to the People’s Republic of China on July 1, 1997; followed by the Umbrella Movement of 2014, in which Hongkongers fought for universal suffrage; the 2019–20 protests over the proposed Hong Kong Extradition Bill; and finally the passage of a national security law with severe sentences for anyone posing a threat to the nation. Cheung argues that economic development and urban renewal are changing Hong Kong’s landscape while housing remains unaffordable. Her memoir also includes an extensive history of Hong Kong’s underground music scene, which she says offered a psychological escape from political unrest.
VERDICT This is an outstanding contribution for any library about one personal experience of political upheaval in Hong Kong.
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