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from the memoir DEAR HONG KONG
(a “Dear John” letter from Xu to her birth city)

“What will happen after 2046, or, more accurately, 2047, the year when something is actually supposed to happen to HK? Once upon a time, we used to say: What will happen after 1997? That was the year of the great handover, when my HK returned like a prodigal child to his real parents, the nation of China, having spent too many adoptive years with his foreign parents, Britain. He was still a young man then, a boy really, just barely out of adolescence. This is the problem of belonging to families that are very, very old, ancient even, with not hundreds but thousands of years of history, because you remain a ‘youth’ for a long, long time.”


“What really opens this book to a wider audience is that it’s as much about the history of Hong Kong as it is about her . . . For a female reader the book is a joy, told as it is by a woman who comes across as a truly free spirit.” TheNewsLen Intl August 2, 2017

“Xu’s memoir . . . reflect(s) on her individual experience as well as the intricacies of the place that shaped her. By doing so, she doesn’t just recall the past, she also brings in the present . . . Woven into this narrative of living through a changing Hong Kong are pointed criticisms of the city’s cultural homogeneity and obsession with money and social hierarchy.” Zolima City Magazine August 7, 2017

“Xu’s engrossing, whirlwind metafictional tale effectively demonstrates the far-reaching effects of politics and culture on the smallest, most personal aspects of our lives.” Publisher’s Weekly

“An ambitious, witty and generous novel” Asian Review of Books

“Beautifully refined in both intelligence and prose, this novel will not let a reader put it down.” Robert Olen Butler - Pulitzer Prize in fiction

“A mesmerizing, polyphonic plot . . . written by a truly transnational writer at the height of her powers . . . (that) educates and delights the reader at the same time.” Vesna Goldsworthy - Novelist & Creative Writing Professor at Exeter University

“Gordie is actually just life itself, the core we are all seeking but which evades us always, what we want but don't quite know why.” Nigel Collett - Historian & Founder of the Tongzhi Literary Group

“A must read for anyone interested in understanding the merging and intractable financial and cultural intersections between China and the United States, and their everyday impact on their citizens.” Alex Kuo - American Book Award winner

“This whole story exudes contemporary updates on The Great Gatsby’s decadence, yearning, and expat experimentation . . . is technically brilliant for its undulating points of view and diverse chronologies.” Trinie Dalton, Fiction Writer & MFA in Writing & Publishing faculty at Vermont College of Fine Arts

“Xu Xi deepens her explorations of absence, alternate realities, and the elusiveness of identity in our increasingly fragmented world . . . with heart and wisdom, That Man in Our Lives is ultimately an intense examination of the very nature of storytelling.” Adam Johnson - Pulitzer Prize in Fiction

publications & media


Edited by Jina Ortiz & Rochelle Spencer, with a foreword by Helena Maria Viramontes, this exciting new anthology is, according to Pulitzer fiction author Junot Diaz, "electrifying and absolutely necessary." Xu Xi's work is the title story and the volume features twenty-seven stories by women of color. Published in November, 2014 by the University of Wisconsin press.

ALL ABOUT SKIN named a Ms. Magazine 2014 must-read feminist book of the year.


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In honor of Kathleen & B.T.