Diamond Hill (Hardback)Kit Fan (author)
Cinematic in scope and peopled with unforgettable characters, poet Fan's fiction debut is a vivacious portrait of a city on the brink of immense change and unwilling to let go of the ghosts of its past.
Diamond Hill was once the 'Hollywood of the Orient', but is now an eyesore in the middle of a glitzy financial hub. Buddhist nuns, drug gangs, property developers, the government and foreign powers are all vying for power, each wanting to stake their claim on the land.
Set in the last shanty town of Hong Kong before the fraught 1997 handover from Britain to China, Diamond Hill follows the return of a recovering heroin addict, Buddha, as he tries to salvage what's left from a place he hoped to forget.
Buddha finds himself crossing swords with the Iron Nun, fighting for her nunnery; a disturbed novice, Quartz, who is fleeing her past; a faded film actress called Audrey Hepburn; and Boss, a teenage gang leader with a big mouth and even bigger plans, plotting to escape what she calls 'the death of Hong Kong'.
Kit Fan's hard-hitting and exhilarating debut is a requiem for a disappearing city, and a meditation on powerlessness, religion, colonialism and displacement. It explores the price of forgetting and how the present is ultimately always entangled in the past.
Number of pages: 352
Weight: 460 g
Dimensions: 220 x 146 x 36 mm
A rapid-fire debut with a cinematographer's eye for detail, Diamond Hill interrogates fate, memory and redemption at a filmic velocity befitting its setting in Hong Kong's former Hollywood. Fan strikes a deft balance between agile set-pieces and lingering beauty. - Naoise Dolan
A vivid, powerful portrait of a vanishing world - David Nicholls
The best debut I've read in ages . . . The beauty and ugliness of life continually jostle as Buddha tries and often fails to do the right thing. There is a glorious luminosity to the writing and the reading experience is rather like looking into a kaleidoscope and giving it several twirls. I am very keen on swearing and especially enjoyed the vigorous and earthy cursing and the fascinating note at the end on Cantonese slang and profanities - Cathy Rentzenbrink
Immediately engaging and dynamic and with an eye for an image that could only belong to a poet - Andrew McMillan
Raw and authentic Hong Kong writing at its best. This book is exceptionally good - Chris Thrall
Gripping and highly accomplished . . . a thoroughly enjoyable and profound exploration of powerlessness, identity and the evolution of a city - Guardian
Kit Fan plunges us face-first into the pungently sordid world of Diamond Hill in his debut novel . . . Fan is an exuberant chronicler of a lost time and place, delightedly preserving Cantonese slang and profanities . . . it's a timely consideration of Hong Kong's recent past - The Times
Fan creates a textured, unsettled portrait of a territory facing a decisive ending. The ethical conflict lies in whether to exploit the inevitable destruction . . . or commit to small, doomed acts of salvation. The dark drama that unfolds is an elegy to that vanished vanishing world - Wall Street Journal
Diamond Hill breathes beauty. Through quiet prose that speaks eloquently for itself, Kit Fan skilfully weaves a story of loss and of being lost; a story of tragic mistakes, which haunts the reader long after the final page has been turned - Okechukwu Nzelu, author of The Private Joys of Nnenna Maloney
An exhilarating and original tale, Diamond Hill marks award-winning Fan as a writer to watch - Cosmopolitan
Deeply evocative... Engaging, provocative, thoroughly compelling, Diamond Hill is written with the dexterity and lyricality of a poet, whose first novel leaves us excited for what may come next - Yorkshire Times
Kit Fan's admirable debut novel Diamond Hill gives us the heart and soul of Hong Kong. Fan captures, with profound empathy, the temporary and precarious nature of the city. His motley crew-a former heroin addict, Buddhist nuns and prostitutes who have fallen from grace, a teenage gangster girl who runs a triad drug operation, among others-inhabit their Kowloon village before time destroys it . . . Despite disappearance and destiny, memory preserves the city's past along with the Cantonese language in all its rich expressiveness and slang. We look forward to more from this author. - XU XI, author of Habit of a Foreign Sky, The Unwalled City, Dear Hong Kong, Insignificance: Hong Kong Stories
Gleams with pleasurable insights... Memorable moments are sketched by a poet's hand - South China Morning Post
Fan resurrects the neighbourhood as it would have looked in 1987, a decade before Britain's handover of Hong Kong to China - a precarious maze of shacks and open gutters, shaken constantly by the rumblings of the planes flying close overhead from nearby Kai Tak Airport - The Straits Times
Fan deftly mixes the sacred with the profane, often on the same page. Just when you decide there's no room for holiness amid the wreckage, you realize there may in fact be no other option - Kirkus Reviews
Fan's evocative debut portrays a Hong Kong in transition... and brings poetic language and moving tributes to descriptions of the lost neighbourhood. The novel's aching beauty makes an effective argument for remembering - Publishers Weekly
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