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Lockdown Lovers

Lockdown Lovers

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For anyone who has ever spent time in Wan Chai or Causeway Bay, it’s almost impossible to miss Hennessy Road. A few weeks of lockdown turned into a few months, and quickly it felt like their relationship had switched up several gears. With thousands of its brothers and sisters being slaughtered, mutilated, and tortured every day in this corner of the Southern Hubei forests, it found itself distressed. It’s happening because people are feeling very lonely, and they’re very anxious and they need to feel close to somebody. Their reaction is almost comical because we have all probably been in this place sometime during the last year and a half.

The virus provides a pathogen that can be named and resisted, solutions that can be purchased and hoarded: the trolleys “full of sanitary towels” and “alcohol disinfectant”. The illusive and unreal Hong Kong, so fitting for the flâneur, has now become so regulated as to be almost unrecognisable. With nowhere to go, Kristal accepts Lisette's invitation to stay with her, until the pandemic is over. While tensions with mainland China are certainly exacerbated by the pandemic, not in the least when Hong Kong’s “huge surplus” is sent away as aid, Hong Kong is now engaged in a struggle with itself.In an illuminating meeting between John and an old friend, they discuss Hong Kong’s “infection mentality” and pose Hong Kong as a city whose decision to “self-isolate” and withdraw to the margins began long before the pandemic. John winds up contracting the virus and being relocated to a quarantine centre on Lamma, where he reconnects with a young activist on the district council he had met previously.

He spends the early days of the pandemic in a 24-hour McDonald’s in Sai Kung while his wife Sue is home with their sickly baby son, Sam. This Hong Kong McDonald’s, then, is the epitome of “glocal”: a faceless, global corporation and yet undeniably Hong Kong. The slow lowering of the face masks … to reveal the cheeks, the nose, the lips, then the outline of the chin, the way the chin recedes to the neck, the jawline. Her debut novel, The Widening of Tolo Highway ( Penguin Random House SEA, 2022), set in Hong Kong’s New Territories, is now available worldwide.Considering the tiny apartments packed with bunk beds in densely packed neighbourhoods, what kind of mobility was there before the pandemic? Phoebe is a twenty-something Hong Kong activist and recently elected local councilor, Kwok-ying is a government health official, and the pangolin is one of the mammals reported as being at the root of the virus.

The novel alternates between the perspectives of John, John's wife Sue, his son Sam, Phoebe, Kwok-ying, a Government Health official, Princess Selina, a millionaire's heiress, and the pangolin, as they all find their own way to deal with the dramatic changes in their lives environments. After matching, they went on Zoom dates and got to know each other before meeting up in a park just outside of Glasgow. We don’t share your credit card details with third-party sellers, and we don’t sell your information to others.

Lahore, Pakistan: Lakir Art GalleryEvent: Lockdown Lovers, Lakir, 108 A Block, Faisal Town, Lahore, Pakistan.

This entry was posted in 2021 Books, Cha Review of Books and Films, Issue 46, Lockdown Lovers, Michael O'Sullivan, Michael O'Sullivan, Lockdown Lovers, Penguin Random House SEA, Penguin Random House SEA, Susan Blumberg-Kason. It is this tension between becoming “faceless” ( dismembered) and seen ( re-membered) that drives the novel.

It tells the story what we all here in Melbourne went through during the COVID lockdowns, back in the early days of the pandemic. Her writing has also appeared in the Los Angeles Review of Books‘ China Blog, Asian Jewish Life, and several Hong Kong anthologies. For James and Sarah, this relationship crash-course simply sped up the process of realising their incompatibility, something that in normal circumstances might have taken them years rather than months. Lockdown Lovers follows Canadian Kristal (Kate Mayhew) who meets Lisette (newcomer Stevie McKeon) on the last night of her trip to Australia, and the pair share a one-night stand. While he’s referring to the pandemic, this could also be said of any great quintessential Hong Kong writing—and indeed of any writing pitches the local against the global, the underdog against the hegemon, and individuals against faceless corporations.

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  • EAN: 764486781913
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