The History of the Adventures of Vivi and Vera
Written by Dung Kai-cheung under the Inspiration of the Ancient Chinese Treatise Celestial Creations and the Works of Man
ISBN : 978-988-16047-6-7
508 pages, 6.75″ x 9.25″
Award-winning author Dung Kai-cheung weaves together two inventive narratives in this remarkable book. One is the story of a novelist who recounts his family’s history against the backdrop of Hong Kong’s development from the 1930s to the 1990s. Dung builds this story through vignettes about the protagonist’s relationship with technological inventions that shaped his life, as glimpsed through his uncertain memory and family myths. Running parallel to this is a rebellion by the novelist’s oppressed fictional characters, who attempt to break the yoke of servile obedience laid upon them by the conventions of novel-writing. The central character, Vivi, has been written into being by the author and, once created, she seems to take on a life of her own and moves from being fabricated to being real, even bravely undertaking the journey to meet her creator—the novelist—in the real world. Fantasy and realism combine to suggest that crossing boundaries is inherent part of our nature.
“Dung Kai-cheung is the most important writer of contemporary Hong Kong. Since the end of the last century, his work has constituted an alternative history of Hong Kong: the city’s splendor and dilemma, its fantastic metamorphoses and uncanny fate. The History of the Adventures of Vivi and Vera represents Dung at his best. The novel chronicles the changes and continuities of Hong Kong in the final decades of colonial rule, and projects a futuristic vision in which postcolonial nostalgia meets postmodernist fantasia, and family romance begets science fantasy. Above all, Dung seeks to inscribe Hong Kong as fiction, and celebrate the power of creativity that is Hong Kong.” —David Der-wei Wang, Edward C. Henderson Professor of Chinese Literature at Harvard University
“Dung Kai-cheung is Hong Kong’s most prolific and innovative contemporary novelist. His work is at once playful and challenging, brilliant and imaginative, and filled with a sense of mystery and discovery. The first volume in Dung’s acclaimed ‘Natural History’ trilogy, The History of the Adventures of Vivi and Vera is nothing short of a qishu, or ‘book of wonder.’ Freely navigating different times and spaces, people and objects, autobiographies and fictions, Dung Kai-cheung has written a new allegory for our troubled times.” —Michael Berry, Professor of Contemporary Chinese Cultural Studies at UCLA, author of Speaking in Images and A History of Pain