Lawrence Osborne

On Java Road
  • On Java Road

  • 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 Forgiven

    After twenty indolent years as an ex-pat reporter in Hong Kong, Englishman Adrian Gyle has almost nothing to show for it. The party gave no sign of ending: nights burned away in private clubs and restaurants; days were spent on laughably easy assignments. But 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, playing for time, 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.

Born in England, Lawrence Osborne is the author of the critically acclaimed novels The Forgiven, The Ballad of a Small Player, Hunters in the Dark, Beautiful Animals, Only to Sleep: A Philip Marlowe novel (commissioned by the Raymond Chandler estate) and The Glass Kingdom. His non-fiction ranges from memoir through travelogue to essays, including Bangkok Days, The Naked Tourist and The Wet and the Dry. His short story 'Volcano' was selected for Best American Short Stories 2012. The Forgiven, starring Ralph Fiennes, Matt Smith and Jessica Chastain, premiered at the Toronto Film Festival and is due to be on general release in the second half of 2022. Osborne lives in Bangkok. www.lawrenceosborne.net

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