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Expat pens novel set in PRD, calls it “South China Morning Blues”

Posted: 08/28/2013 1:20 pm

An Israeli-American living in Shenzhen is seeking publication for his fictional novel set in the Pearl River Delta region of Guangdong, which he likens to the British cult-favourite Trainspotting by Irvine Welsh. He has titled “South China Morning Blues” in a clever play on the Hong Kong newspaper.

“It’s an epic about the booming southern province of Guangdong and the diverse individuals who end up there. The short elevator pitch on this novel might be ‘Trainspotting’ set in China, due to the interlocking short stories and multiple narrators,” Ray Hecht, 31, who teaches English while writing in his spare time, told Shenzhen Daily in an interview back June. (Hecht has also contributed articles to The Nanfang.)

“It’s very difficult for a debut author to get published. People can self-publish on the Internet nowadays, and I may consider that option, too. But certainly it’s different when people get published by big-name publishing houses in New York City or Los Angeles.

“Teaching English for an institution does not offer a bright career prospective. One way is to have your own teaching facility. I have friends who marry Chinese wives and start their own English teaching centers. They live comfortably off them. But that’s not my dream,” Hecht said.

Although the majority of the novel’s scenes take place in Shenzhen, Guangzhou and Hong Kong, cities such as Dongguan, Zhuhai and Macao also make appearances. Readers who are familiar with life in the the PRD will certainly be able to relate to Hecht’s fascinating cast of characters, which include “crooked businessmen, culture-shocked English teachers, jaded journalists, artists, criminals and more…”

Hecht has been living in Shenzhen since 2008, and lists Mo Yan as a favourite Chinese author. As of the time of his interview with Shenzhen Daily in mid-June, there was still no confirmed publishing deal or expected release date for his debut novel.

In any case, Hecht is certainly one expat in the PRD region to keep an eye on, and we wish him every success for the future.

In related news, earlier this month The Nanfang reported on the 2nd South China International Literary Festival which took place in Foshan and drew together a large number of high-profile attendees from across China’s literary world.

Photo credit: Trainspotting

  • Sebastian

    Sounds like a good read.
    Will you update us once Ray releases his book?

    • Michael de Waal-Montgomery

      We’d like to, assuming we hear of the news from Ray when it happens.

  • Ray

    Thanks for the promotion. For more stories, please check out:

    And something to be posted via Amazon shortly…

    • Michael de Waal-Montgomery

      Thanks for sharing these links, Ray…

  • Pingback: Expat Pens Novel Set In PRD, Calls it “South China Morning Blues” | rayhecht

  • Ray

    And here is a novel on Amazon’s Kindle store:

    Though not China-themed, I liked it.

    If anyone would like to read the whole thing for free, I’m happy to share. I just ask, if you happen to like it, then post the link somewhere on the interwebs.

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