On Java Road by Lawrence Osborne


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A veteran British journalist living in Hong Kong investigates the disappearance of a student protestor amidst the pro-democracy demonstrations in this unsettling new novel from the acclaimed author of The ForgivenAfter twenty indolent years as an ex-pat reporter in Hong Kong, Englishman Adrian Gyle has almost nothing to show for it. And now the streets are choked with students demanding democratic freedoms, and the old world begins to fall apart.

Watching from the skyrises overlooking the protests is Adrian's old friend Jimmy Tang, the scion of a wealthy Hong Kong family, who has begun a reckless affair with Rebecca, a leading pro-democracy protestor, full of idealism and reeking of tear gas. The couple are dancing over the abyss, and Adrian is drawn into their clandestine romance with a mixture of complicity and envy.

But when Rebecca disappears and Jimmy goes to ground, Adrian unearths the familiar old urge to investigate, and personal loyalties evaporate overnight. Now an unwelcome foreigner in a hostile land, Adrian must reckon with these vanishings as old Hong Kong quietly slips off the stage. Pursuing Rebecca's ghost to Java Road where the city's dead congregate, Adrian re-assembles her final hours - as he struggles to distinguish between delusion and reality.

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