Tuesday reads


A trip back in time

I did not know Macau in the 1960s or 1970s — actually, I did not know any place in those years. But I share the (bitter?) sweet nostalgia of some of those who did. Visit To The Past, Photographs by Lei Chiu Vang, allows me to take on a journey to what I cannot remember but am certainly determined to treasure.
Bakery Attacks

A crazy little story

I have to start by acknowledging this is by far not one of Haruki Murakami's best books. Still, despite the parenthesis, I appreciated the language — which is great as always — and I admit it is funny. All in all, The Bakery Attack and The Second Bakery Attack are still worth to read, even though probably more suited to a youngster.

An ode to Japan

What if the sole contemplation of nature's beauty could change souls — and fate? What if ideas could be killed with a rock on a creature's head? Homens Imprudentemente Poéticos (Recklessly Poetic Men, in a free translation to English) is Portuguese author Valter Hugo Mãe's latest novel — and it does not disappoint his fans. It is a beautiful ode to Japan, full of humanism.

Magical tales

These are tales of birds telling the future, of goddesses granting wishes to humans or of estranged lovers coming together in heaven. Tales from Macau, by the Portuguese author Alice Vieira, is skillfully written, capturing the essence of a magical place. The words are matched in beauty by the illustrations of French artist Alain Corbel.

A book about China

Anyone living in this part of the world has heard of Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China. Jung Chang's bestseller follows three generation of Chinese women, featuring different periods in History: the Manchus, the Communist Party's ascension, the Cultural Revolution, the Red Guards and the post-Mao experience. It's History told in the first person.

Envy: The man who turned into a book

Imagine if one day priests had decided to keep files on every soul's confessions? The deepest, darkest sins put into writing in a secret archive with the purpose of further analysis for "a better understanding of the mind, soul and spirit". Macau-based author Carlos Morais José did. And the result is brilliant.
Image by Eduardo Martins

A metaphore for an ill society

I Love my Mum is the controversial novella by the equally controversial Chinese author Chen Xiwo. It is a story about murder and incest, but, more than that, it is a metaphore for a political constrained reality and ill society. It was and is banned in Mainland China, but it tells a story one needs to know.

A city’s portrait

Hong Kong ID — Stories From the City's Hidden Writers, edited by Dania Shawwa, gathers a set of short stories by a total of 19 Hong Kong authors, offering a portrait of the city's cultural melting pot.
Snakes and Earrings

A look on contemporary Japan

Describing a love triangle, Snakes and Earrings is a tale of passion, sex, alcohol, drugs, piercing and tattoos. Unconventional, to say the least, the book by the young author Hitomi Kanehara is compelling because it reveals a portrait of post-bubble Japan youth, even if accidentally.

Sea of loneliness

The mountains, the sea, the Lord, the barbarians — Macao through the eyes of Chinese envoys, mostly from the Ming Dynasty: reports in the form of poems.
Rudyard Kipling

Short-stories from India

These are three short stories, written by the great Rudyard Kipling, about India — the castes, the divisions, the political convulsion in the nineteenth century, love and drugs. On The City Wall, Beyond the Pale and The Gate of a Hundred Sorrows are very different stories and very easy to read — simple, yet complex in its content, as it should be, as they reflect a still today very diverse society.