Next week on October 15th the new book from author Ray Hecht will be published by Blacksmith Books and I was lucky enough to get an early copy.
Ray Hecht has been living in Shenzen, China, since 2008 and has written several books about life in China – including “Pearl River Drama: Dating in China – A Memoir” – in which he writes about his own life and dating experiences. His newest book “South China Morning Blues” is seperated into three parts, that are named after three chinese cities; Shenzen, Guangzhou and Hongkong.
What I found most unusal about the book, is, that the reader learns the names of all the protagonists from the beginning, just like in a play. Even more interesting is the assignment of the 12 chinese signs, one for each character. Throughout the book the characters are identified by their sign and it was surprisingly easy to keep up with the twelve different personalities. It might be because I am familiar with characteristic traits for each chinese zodiac sign, but I automatically watched out for signs, that they match the described character and it was interesting to see connections.
Each part is told from the perspective of one of the characters and even though these are only their inner thoughts, one gets a feeling about life in the three parts of China. The story follows a wide array of personalities, including an English Teachers, a Businessman and a young chinese woman that gets married too soon. The languag is straight forward and the struggles with life, love and sex make for an interesting and entertaining read. The stories are not all happy-go-lucky, but let’s be honest, that’s real life.
Though I haven’t live in China for a longer period of time and have never been to Shenzen and Guangzhou, I really liked the view into the daily lifes of different characters and I can imagine that expats who have been, or are right now, living in China, especially in one of those three places, might find themselves in the pages of the book.