The impossible city


An insider’s account of Hong Kong and its people–from its tenacious counterculture and robust underground music scene, to its unique history of youth-led protest–that explores what it means to survive in a city of broken promises.

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SKU: 9780593241431 Category: Tags: ,


In a place where time is running out, sometimes the most radical act is remembrance. Hong Kong has long been known as a city of extremes: a former colony of the United Kingdom that today exists at the margins of an authoritarian, ascendant China; a city rocked by mass protests, where residents take to the streets to rally against encroaching threats on their democracy and freedoms. But it is also misunderstood and often romanticized, its history and politics oversimplified in Western headlines. Drawing richly from her own experience, as well as countless interviews with the artists, protestors, students, and writers who have made Hong Kong their home, journalist Karen Cheung gives us an insider’s view of this remarkable city, making the case along the way that we should look to Hong Kong as a warning sign for what lies ahead for other global democracies. Coming of age in the wake of Hong Kong’s reunification with China in 1997, Cheung traverses the multifold identities available to her in childhood and beyond, whether that was at her English-speaking international schools, where her classmates were often the children of diplomats or corporate officers, or within her deeply traditional family. Along the way, Cheung gives a personal account of what it’s like to seek out affordable housing and mental healthcare in one of the world’s most expensive cities. She also takes us into Hong Kong’s vibrant indie music and literary scenes–youth-driven spaces of creative resistance. Inevitably, Cheung brings us with her to the protests, where her understanding of what it means to belong to Hong Kong finally crystallised. Weaving together memoir, cultural criticism, and reportage, The Impossible City transcends borders to chart the parallel journeys of both a young woman and a city as they navigate the various, sometimes contradictory, paths of becoming independent and coming into one’s own.

Additional information

Weight 0.464 kg
Dimensions 21 × 13.9 × 3.8 cm






xix, 320




951.250612092 (edition:23)


General – Trade / Code: K


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