The Kite Family by Lai-chu Hon

The Kite Family Book Cover

The Kite Family
Lai-chu Hon
East Slope Publishing Limited


A masterful collection of stories that stretch the limits of the imagination by Hon Lai-chu, one of Hong Kong’s most dazzling young authors.

Hon Lai-chu pulls us into worlds we did not realize were hiding within our own.

• A man unable to find work turns himself into a chair so that he will be worth something to society.

A disease that targets lonely people has become a deadly epidemic, and a single woman is forced to become part of an artificial family in the hope that traditional roles can restore her health.

A young girl tries to make sense of growing up in a family where everyone becomes morbidly obese and her relatives exhibit increasingly bizarre behavior: her melancholy aunt tears down all her curtains to make a new gown for meeting a mysterious stranger; her sister tries vainly to drift into the sky as a kite; and her grandmother consumes (literally) all the family inheritance.

Hon’s first full-length book in English, The Kite Family brings a glowing voice to contemporary English literature. With this collection, renowned translator Andrea Lingenfelter (known for her translation of Lillian Lee’s famous Farewell My Concubine) has brought another masterpiece to extraordinary life.

Steeped in the atmosphere of a lucid dream, this is a collection that will jolt the mind and delight the senses.

Situations picked out of life and transformed into a lonely and surrealistic absurd world view. This book contains several short stories which raise questions, makes us readers think about the world we live in (economics, diseases, migration) and tap into our own fears.

The themes of the different stories vary and do or do not touch me personally (it’s all about personal life experiences) but to me the style does not appeal, I understand Lai-chu worked close together with the translator, so this can not be her fault. In my opinion, as a western reader, the sentences are too long and just drag on. Maybe I just have short attention span.

This raises the question: is this book boring to me?
The answer is simple: it is not. The different stories are well written, take life from different angles, are sometimes funny, sad and make you think.


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