These stories collectively capture various versions of the expat life that share the feeling of being between two worlds, that experience of being neither here nor there and trying to find a way to fill that space.
The stories follow a kind of “life cycle” of expatriates in Hong Kong — a place often called the “most thrilling city on the planet.” They share the feeling of being between two worlds, the experience of being neither here nor there and trying to find a way to fill that space. From the hedonistic first days in How To Pick Up A Maid in Statue Square, as Fast Eddy instructs on how best to approach Filipina maids on their rest day; through the muted middle in Rephrasing Kate, as Kate encounters a charismatic bad boy and is forced to admit her infidelities; to the inevitable end in The Dirty Duck, as Bill realizes his inability to commit and resolves to return home to Australia; Hong Kong alters them all with its frenetic mixture of capitalism and exoticism. Characters exist between the worlds they once knew and this place which now holds them in its spell and shapes them to its ends. Their stories explore how they cope with this space where loneliness and alienation intersect, a place where insomniac young bankers forfeit their ambition while chasing deviant sexual encounters, or consume themselves with climbing the corporate ladder. It is a world where passive domestics live and work for the money they can send home, while their keepers assemble poolside to engage in conversations aroused by the expat’s desire to connect to others who share their fates. Always, of course, there is The Globe a favourite watering hole where, when night falls, they meet to tell their stories.
Rea Tarvydas lives and writes stories in Calgary, Alberta. Her stories can be found in The New Quarterly, The Fiddlehead, and Grain magazines. Work is forthcoming in the Menopause Anthology (Inanna, 2017).
Tarvydas is the 2012 winner of the Brenda Strathern Latebloomer Award, curated by the Calgary Foundation and presented at WordFest. In addition, her work has been nominated for a National Magazine Award.
She has lived in Hong Kong and, as such, experienced one version of the expat life which is the genesis for this book.
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