by Wendy McTavish
Inkstone Books $175
'Marinate portioned duck in soy sauce, corn flour, grated fresh ginger, garlic, honey and sherry. Place in oven. Become so involved in dinner table conversation that whole dinner is ruined. Proceed to Village Restaurant in Central.' So much for Duck Canton. It's 1967 and Australians Peter and Wendy McTavish are finding their way in Hong Kong. It was 'a tumultuous year for the colony', but Expat is not a book about politics, or imposed values. Rather, it is a whimsical memoir of a life lived between two cultures. Ultimately, the expat can be 'never completely happy' in either, the language barrier working against them in one, a lack of shared experience in the other. McTavish is an amusing and modest storyteller. She doesn't pretend to have the answers, but the newcomer will be intrigued by life in the rollicking decades when Hong Kong seemed awash with money, even when it wasn't. A willingness to work hard is still the only ticket one needs to ride. One can even learn how to cook along the way.