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Hong Kong Noir by Jason Y. Ng

Hong Kong Noir

by Jason Y. Ng (Editor), Susan Blumberg-Kason (Editor)

Other authors: Ysabelle Cheung (Contributor), Chi-shun Feng (Contributor), Tiffany Hawk (Contributor), Shen Jian (Contributor), Christina Liang (Contributor)8 more, Charles Martin, Philipp (Contributor), Marshall Moore (Contributor), Brittani Sonnenberg (Contributor), Carmen Suen (Contributor), James Tam (Contributor), Rhiannon Jenkins Tsang (Contributor), Xu Xi (Contributor), Shannon Young (Contributor)

Series: Akashic Books Noir Series

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238671,942 (3.94)3



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This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Hong Kong Noir is only the second anthology in Akashic Books' noir series that I've had the opportunity to read, but it is my favorite so far. Edited by Jason Y. Ng and Susan Blumberg-Kason, the volume collects fourteen stories from fourteen contributors, each with their own connections to Hong Kong: Jason Y. Ng, Xu Xi, Marshall Moore, Brittani Sonnenberg, Tiffany Hawk, James Tam, Rhiannon Jenkins Tsang, Charles Philipp Martin, Christina Lian, Feng Chi-shun, Shannon Young, Shen Jian, Carmen Suen, and Ysabelle Cheung. I wasn’t previously familiar with any of the authors, but based on the stories included in Hong Kong Noir, I am certainly interested in pursuing some of the authors’ other work as well.

As a whole, I greatly enjoyed the Hong Kong Noir collection. While there is understandably some thematic similarities from story to story—the volume is arranged in a such a way that this is emphasized—the authors utilize an engaging variety of styles and to some extent even genres in the telling of their tales. I was particularly drawn towards the selections that were more speculative in nature or that dealt with death and the afterlife, but the rest still had appeal, too. I liked the twists and turns in the stories collected in Hong Kong Noir and the general sense of place conveyed by the volume. Overall, Hong Kong Noir was an excellent anthology; I look forward to reading more of the noir series. ( )
  PhoenixTerran | Feb 25, 2019 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Another entry into the Akashic Noir series and shows that the minds behind the series are still sharp as ever. With Hong Kong Noir, the focus of many of the stories is on tradition, family and China's looming shadow. And ghost tales (but that really ties into the previously mentioned topics). The stories are dark, they're masterful, they're another feather in the cap of the Akashic Noir series. ( )
  Sean191 | Feb 10, 2019 |
Hong Kong Noir continues Akashic Books globe-trotting series of noir anthologies, taking readers on a trip to the noir side of Hong Kong this time. Hong Kong has a unique history as a British colony until 1997 when their lease expired and Hong Kong became part of China. Going from a capitalist hot spot to a communist region, no matter the guarantees of autonomy was a systemic shock and that transition features in several stories. As an international commercial center, it’s no surprise that sex workers feature in several stories as well. There are also ghosts that haunt the city, the people who live there, and many of the stories.

There are fourteen stories in Hong Kong Noir, a choice that may seem aggressive given the widely held belief that fourteen is unlucky, so much so hotels and apartment buildings skip the fourteenth floor. Given that there are fourteen stories, I was somewhat disappointed by how many stories featured sex workers or ghosts. I am sure Hong Kong is more diverse. There were a couple of stories where I wondered if they were a continuation of a previous story. I don’t mind ambiguous endings, but there were too many of them as well.

This is a rare disappointment for me. I almost always love the Akashic Noir releases. It makes me wonder how the authors described what they were looking for when they recruited writers to write stories for this edition. “We’re looking for noir stories about Hong Kong, past and present, you know, stories about ghosts, haunted neighborhoods, sex workers, and organized crime, that sort of story from the grim and sordid side of life.” Somehow there is a sameness to the stories that is surprising given the diversity of authors. It seems that must come from how they were recruited to write for the anthology.

Still, it is only disappointing relative to the high quality of the Akashic Noir series. It is still a good mystery anthology. I expect to like every book I read because I was drawn to them for a reason. There are still several good stories that drew me in. A couple were excellent, including the unluckily named “Fourteen.” I also thought “One Marriage, Two People” that gives us the stream of consciousness thoughts of a husband and wife who are very different, though I thought the husband was surprisingly two-dimensional. “The Quintessence of Dust” is chilling, with beautiful writing, “I couldn’t tell where the jet lag ended and the hangover began. They fused into each other like the stairs in one of those Escher prints where the only way is down.”

If you like mysteries and short stories and are curious about the world, Akashic Noir is a delight and you will enjoy Hong Kong Noir.

I received an e-galley of Hong Kong Noir from the publisher through Edelweiss.

Hong Kong Noir at Akashic Books
Akashic Noir Series
Jason Y. Ng author site & Twitter
Susan Blumberg-Kason author site & Twitter

https://tonstantweaderreviews.wordpress.com/2019/01/17/hong-kong-noir-by-jason-y... ( )
  Tonstant.Weader | Jan 17, 2019 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Hong Kong Noir is a consistently good collection of short stories. I particularly enjoyed the concentration of ghost stories and the supernatural. The first section was my favorite because of this, but there was a particularly eerie story in the last section, Fourteen, that was also representative of the otherworldly. I enjoyed a rather Hitchockian story by Tiffany Hawk, You Deserve More. The Akashic Noir series offers not only an opportunity to get a feel for a city through the lens of fiction and the short story, but also, provides, at least in my case, the incentive to delve further into the history and geography of both the city and the country. ( )
  bayleaf | Dec 16, 2018 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
This is the first book of short stories in this series which is set in a city I know to a small extent. I used to visit Hong Kong regularly and made several visits during the years immediately before and after Reversion. The stories, by a mix of authors itself reflective of Hong Kong, include many references to Reversion, as well as to ghosts (many of the 14 stories are, appropriately enough, ghost stories). All were entertaining and to this reader at least, both "noir" and very Hong Kong. I resolved to seek more books in this series with stories set i other cities I know better. ( )
  nmele | Dec 11, 2018 |
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» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Ng, Jason Y.Editorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Blumberg-Kason, SusanEditormain authorall editionsconfirmed
Cheung, YsabelleContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Feng, Chi-shunContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Hawk, TiffanyContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Jian, ShenContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Liang, ChristinaContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Martin, Charles, PhilippContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Moore, MarshallContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Sonnenberg, BrittaniContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Suen, CarmenContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Tam, JamesContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Tsang, Rhiannon JenkinsContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Xi, XuContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Young, ShannonContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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