I am always on the lookout for the great Hong Kong novel, but haven’t found much. So when I came across author Raymond K. Wong and his award-winning novel, The Pacific Between (Behler Publications, 2006), I quickly bought in on my Kindle. Wong is originally from Hong Kong.
The book drew me in right away as the protagonist, Greg, was in California trying to win back his girlfriend Kate when he found two cryptic letters–to his father–from an old girlfriend in Hong Kong.
Soon the setting changes to the amazing city of Hong Kong and by then I’m completely hooked.
“The hypnotic smells of roasted chestnuts and Chinese barbecue, hot asphalt and smoky sidewalks, designer perfumes and pungent exhausts consumed them from all around. We were bombarded with so much life–it was sinful.”
And this was just at the beginning of the story.
Greg was last in Hong Kong about the same time I lived there, and although he’s a fictional character, I understood how he felt when he returned for the first time fourteen years after leaving. I also had a fourteen year gap between moving away and visiting again!
He tries to find Lian, his old girlfriend, but it’s not easy. Lian was a nurse at the hospital where Greg’s father worked. She was older than Greg and dating one of the other doctors, a colleague of Greg’s dad.
After running into another nurse named Agnes (one of my favorite characters, along with Old Chow, another hospital employee), Greg learns more about Lian’s whereabouts and eventually finds her at the Cultural Centre in Tsim Sha Tsui (where my ex-husband met his new wife. You can see how this book speaks to me!).
Raymond Wong takes the reader to Causeway Bay, Homantin (where I worked for two years), Cheung Chau, Lantau, and more. It’s a thrilling story about love, family, identity, and acceptance.
I won’t give away too much, but I really did love the story and the characters. They’re all flawed but sympathetic. I can’t wait to read more from Raymond K. Wong.