Book review: The Borrowed – Hong Kong crime novel’s six episodes tell a compelling story about city’s history


The Borrowed

by Chan Ho-Kei (translated by Jeremy Tiang)

Grove Atlantic

3 stars

Kwan Chun-dok is “the genius detective… the man who never forgets a place, and can identify a suspect just from the way he walks”. And even in a coma, in what might be his last day of life, Kwan, known as the “Eye of Heaven”, is going to solve one final murder.

Hong Kong crime writer Simon Chan Ho-kei’s The Borrowed spans Kwan’s 50-year career with the Hong Kong Police Force. Told in six distinct novellas in reverse chronological order, the book begins in 2013 with the murder of a Hong Kong billionaire, before moving back in time to significant years in the city’s history: the handover in 1997, the Tiananmen Square crackdown in 1989, the 1977 conflict between the Hong Kong Police and the Independent Commission Against Corruption, and, finally – or is this really the start? – the 1967 leftist riots. Read more

Source: South China Morning Post