• Indelible City

  • Dispossession and Defiance in Hong Kong
  • By: Louisa Lim
  • Narrated by: Louisa Lim
  • Length: 10 hrs and 37 mins
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars (29 ratings)

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Indelible City

By: Louisa Lim
Narrated by: Louisa Lim
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Publisher's Summary

An award-winning journalist and longtime Hong Konger indelibly captures the place, its people, and the untold history they are claiming, just as it is being erased.

The story of Hong Kong has long been dominated by competing myths: to Britain, a “barren rock” with no appreciable history; to China, a part of Chinese soil from time immemorial, at last returned to the ancestral fold. For decades, Hong Kong’s history was simply not taught, especially to Hong Kongers, obscuring its origins as a place of refuge and rebellion. When protests erupted in 2019 and were met with escalating suppression from Beijing, Louisa Lim—raised in Hong Kong as a half-Chinese, half-English child, and now a reporter who has covered the region for nearly two decades—realized that she was uniquely positioned to unearth the city’s untold stories.

Lim’s deeply researched and personal account casts startling new light on key moments: the British takeover in 1842, the negotiations over the 1997 return to China, and the future Beijing seeks to impose. Indelible City features guerrilla calligraphers, amateur historians and archaeologists, and others who, like Lim, aim to put Hong Kongers at the center of their own story. Wending through it all is the King of Kowloon, whose iconic street art both embodied and inspired the identity of Hong Kong—a site of disappearance and reappearance, power and powerlessness, loss and reclamation.

©2022 Louisa Lim (P)2022 Penguin Audio
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History

Critic Reviews

“The best book about the indelible city to date. Irresistibly real and emotionally authentic, it shines with a shimmering light rarely seen in political narrative. A truly extraordinary elegy.” (Ai Weiwei) 

“An utterly brilliant and original ode to Hong Kong, throbbing with eccentricity and sense of place. Like Joseph Mitchell’s singular rendering of New York, Lim’s Hong Kong will be read decades from now as an indelible portrait.” (Evan Osnos, author of Age of Ambition, winner of the National Book Award)

“I absolutely loved this book. Each page is a revelation about a city whose history I thought I knew well. Lim’s exploration of Hong Kong’s identity is insightful, refreshing and entirely original.” (Barbara Demick, author of Nothing to Envy and Eat the Buddha)

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Hong Kong's identity, then, now, and in the future

I appreciated Louisa's perspectives on Hong Kong, its history, and its struggle to find its identity following the handover to the PRC. She creates an intriguing framework within which to view and retell the story of Hong Kong. This is a must-read for anyone interested in the subject.