BOOK LIVES: Combing for Ice and Jade by Kurt Tong

Combing for Ice and Jade
by Kurt Tong
Jiazazhi Press
ISBN 978-988-14575-8-5

Half way through Lulu Wang‘s The Farewell a few days ago, I told myself that this film has all the elements of a ‘typical’ immigrant movie.

Well-meaning friends had cautioned earlier that it resembles some of Ang Lee’s early productions.

I certainly hope I don’t feel that way about Kurt Tong‘s Combing for Ice and Jade.

While I knew I was right, I also think I was a little harsh to think that way.

First, there really aren’t enough good immigrant movies to go around. Second, if it reminds me of something I have been familiar with, maybe I ought to accept that they are ‘typical’ for a reason. For example, it can mean they are accurate and well-researched.

There really aren’t many good photography books dedicated to the issue of diaspora too.

At least I don’t (yet) own many, probably because I haven’t found many that resonate with me.

Tong was born in Hong Kong but grew up in UK.

I want to say I understand this longing but I don’t think I can’t say that in a way that will accord this book the right place, one that it truly deserves.

As I grow older, I am easily sentimental.

I like how this book uses old materials in a way that invites me to be part of the author’s journey.

I’m still happily discovering/enjoying Tong’s story.