But as Hong Kong prepared to return to China at the stroke of midnight on July 1, 1997, its colonial history became quite fashionable in the expat world. Many of my friends picked up or re-read Richard Mason’s 1957 novel about a Hong Kong bar girl who falls in love with an Englishman.
It was at this time that I read the novel for the first time. And I was hooked. My mom visited Hong Kong five years after the novel first came out, so as I read the book, I looked for the Hong Kong she saw.
The novel spawned a Broadway adaptation featuring William Shatner and France Nuyen in 1958. And then of course there was the 1960 Hollywood movie starring William Holden and Nancy Kwan. Several years ago the Hong Kong Ballet premiered a dance version of the novel.
In Wanchai, not too far from the Luk Kwok Hotel, where the book takes place, a former nightclub and bar was named after Suzie (photo on right). Although the Hong Kong bar is long gone, Beijing opened a swanky World of Suzie Wong Club in 2002.
And thus Suzie Wong lives on.