A review of
The Train to Lo Wu
by Jess Row
In the first story here, a young American teaching in Hong Kong describes his letters home as “factual and sparse.” And it’s a good description of the writing in Jess Row’s The Train to Lo Wu, a collection inspired by his own experience teaching in Hong Kong. But if the prose is pragmatic, the stories themselves operate as intuitive, emotional, and in some cases, romantic responses to one of the most unusual places on earth.
Anyone who’s been there will agree. In Hong Kong, as Row accurately characterizes it, where skyscrapers grow from mountainsides, the Chinese are separated from themselves, and the political and economic philosophies of the world converge (or whatever it is they’re doing), it feels like a thousand borders can be crossed in a single day.
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