Nick Hordern


The Drunkard

by Liu Yichang, translated by Charlotte Chun-lam Yiu. The Chinese University of Hong Kong Press.

My contribution to this book was restricted to editing the English text and writing an Introduction and Notes. Slight as this was, I am very proud to have been involved in bringing Liu Yichang’s 1963 masterpiece – acclaimed as the Hong Kong novel – before an English reading audience.

The story is simple: the unnamed Narrator, an alcoholic hack writer at odds with the world, sinks to his nadir. In his plight he represents a whole intelligentsia, a whole culture, shoved aside by the brutal forces of history: the Sino-Japanese War and the rampant capitalism of postwar Hong Kong. A profoundly moving meditation on the death of creativity, and the end of love and desire.

Keep an eye out for Freddie Wong’s 2010 film version of The Drunkard, which absolutely nails Liu’s character ‘Hemingway’.

The Drunkard by Liu Yichang
The Drunkard by Liu Yichang