4 out of 5 stars

A copy of this was provided free of charge from the publisher in return for an honest review.

The Portuguese colony of Macau was first founded in 1557 and was the first European settlement in Asia. Over the next 450 years, it developed its own distinct and unique culture. This tiny 45 square mile island is about 37 miles of Hong Kong and it is now a Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China.

Graeme Hall was living in Hong Kong when he first became fascinated by this little colony and visited many times. This short and perfectly formed short-story collection is a result of those hours spent there and studying the culture of Macau. There are stories about an arranged marriage, a fishing trip and a man looking for his family. My favourite story was An Apartment on Coloane, which is about an old man who has an unnerving sense of what is to come.

I have not been to Macau but I can imagine what it is like as I am fortunate to have been to Hong Kong a few times. That blend of Western and Chinese made it a special place, and I can only imagine that Macau is the same. I really liked this collection, but if there was one flaw with this book it is that there are only eight stories within. I reached the end and I wanted it to be at least three times as many stories of this fascinating place. A great little set of stories.

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