White Ghost Girls by Alice Greenway

White Ghost Girls

Alice Greenway

You plunge into this story like the girls do into the warm China sea. It seethes, not only with rich colours, smells and tastes, but with awkward relationships, between sisters, children and parents, Chinese and Americans. Darkness and violence lurk below the lovely surface, yet what I took away was the vivid experience, not the sorrow.


The Chinese kitchen is at the temple in Lantau. It's a long thin room built against the bare stone of the hillside with strips of plastic roofing discoloured by mould. At night, the women chop vegetables under a bare light bulb. Strong-smelling mushrooms, ginger, thin slices of water chestnut. A dark soup boils on a kerosene burner. White squares of tofu sizzle in peanut oil. Strings of keys, plastic bags dangle on hooks. Cockroaches scuttle underfoot.

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